Diagnostic Ultrasound Safety Review for Point-of-Care Ultrasound Practitioners

J Ultrasound Med. 2020 Jun;39(6):1069-1084. doi: 10.1002/jum.15202. Epub 2019 Dec 23.


Potential ultrasound exposure safety issues are reviewed, with guidance for prudent use of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS). Safety assurance begins with the training of POCUS practitioners in the generation and interpretation of diagnostically valid and clinically relevant images. Sonographers themselves should minimize patient exposure in accordance with the as-low-as-reasonably-achievable principle, particularly for the safety of the eye, lung, and fetus. This practice entails the reduction of output indices or the exposure duration, consistent with the acquisition of diagnostically definitive images. Informed adoption of POCUS worldwide promises a reduction of ionizing radiation risks, enhanced cost-effectiveness, and prompt diagnoses for optimal patient care.

Keywords: Food and Drug Administration regulation; as low as reasonably achievable; diagnostic ultrasound safety; mechanical index; output display standard; point-of-care ultrasound; safety of the eye, lung, and fetus; thermal index; ultrasound bioeffects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Patient Safety*
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Ultrasonography / adverse effects
  • Ultrasonography / methods*
  • Ultrasonography / standards*