A Whole-Body Approach to Point of Care Ultrasound

Chest. 2016 Oct;150(4):772-776. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2016.07.040. Epub 2016 Aug 26.


Ultrasonography is an essential imaging modality in the ICU used to diagnose and guide the treatment of cardiopulmonary failure. Critical care ultrasonography requires that all image acquisition, image interpretation, and clinical applications of ultrasonography are personally performed by the critical care clinician at the point of care and that the information obtained is combined with the history, physical, and laboratory information. Point-of-care ultrasonography is often compartmentalized such that the clinician will focus on one body system while performing the critical care ultrasonography examination. We suggest a change from this compartmentalized approach to a systematic whole-body ultrasonography approach. The standard whole-body ultrasonography examination includes thoracic, cardiac, limited abdominal, and an evaluation for DVT. Other elements of ultrasonography are used when clinically indicated. Each of these elements is reviewed in this article and are accompanied by a link to pertinent cases from the Ultrasound Corner section of CHEST.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Aorta, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging
  • Ascites / diagnostic imaging
  • Critical Care*
  • Echocardiography
  • Heart Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Lung Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Pleural Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Point-of-Care Testing*
  • Ultrasonography*
  • Ureteral Obstruction / complications
  • Ureteral Obstruction / diagnostic imaging
  • Urethral Obstruction / complications
  • Urethral Obstruction / diagnostic imaging
  • Venous Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Whole Body Imaging*