Point-of-care ultrasound: Coming soon to primary care?

J Fam Pract. 2018 Feb;67(2):70-80.


Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) has been gaining greater traction in recent years as a way to quickly (and cost-effectively) assess for conditions including systolic dysfunction, pleural effusion, abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA), and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It involves limited and specific ultrasound protocols performed at the bedside by the health care provider who is trying to answer a specific question and, thus, help guide treatment of the patient. In this article, we will review the evidence for the use of POCUS in 4 areas: the cardiovascular exam, the lung exam, the screening exam for AAAs, and the evaluation for DVT. For all of these applications, POCUS is safe, accurate, and beneficial and can be performed with a relatively small amount of training by non-radiology specialists, including family physicians.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Ultrasonography / instrumentation*