Point-of-care ultrasound (curriculum)

Dr David Carroll et al.

The point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) curriculum is one of our curriculum articles and aims to be a collection of articles that represent the core applications of ultrasonography in a point-of-care setting.

Point-of-care ultrasound refers to ultrasonography which may be simultaneously performed, interpreted and utilized by a health care provider at the time of consultation, in proximity to the patient. The goals and scope are fundamentally different from the traditional sonographer-performed ultrasound, limited to specific clinical questions that narrow a clinician's differentials, guide clinical therapy, and direct consultations and disposition. 

While more detailed and complex ultrasonography applications may provide information that is more detailed than PoCUS, have greater anatomic specificity, or identify alternative diagnoses, PoCUS is non-invasive, rapidly deployed and does not entail removal of the patient from their clinical area, e.g. resuscitation suite.

PoCUS consensus statements emphasize engaging consultants early on in work-up, ultimately improving initial diagnostic accuracy, initiation of proper management, and allowing PoCUS to play a complementary role to traditional imaging modalities.

While grouping applications of PoCUS is largely arbitrary, the indications for PoCUS tend to revolve around either the function of an anatomical structure, or a syndrome eliciting interrogation of systems pertaining to the differential diagnosis.

  • central nervous system
    • transcranial doppler
  • peripheral nervous system
    • brachial plexus
  • key findings
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Article information

rID: 62779
Section: Approach, Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • POCUS

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: normal trachea
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  • Case 2: normal lung
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  • Case 3: pneumothorax
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  • Case 4: lung hepatization
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  • Case 5: sonographic air bronchograms
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  • Case 6: pleural effusion
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  • Case 7: diffuse b-lines
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  • Case 8: diffuse b-lines
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  • Case 9: normal cardiac chambers
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  • Case 10: normal cardiac chambers
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  • Case 11: normal cardiac chambers
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  • Case 12: tricuspid valve regurgitation
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  • Case 13: normal aortic root
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  • Case 14: normal aortic arch
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  • Case 15: normal descending aorta
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  • Case 16: aortic valve stenosis
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  • Case 17: aortic dissection
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  • Case 18: normal inferior vena cava
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  • Case 19: plethoric inferior vena cava
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  • Case 20: normal liver
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  • Case 21: normal kidney
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  • Case 22: normal hepatorenal interface
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  • Case 23: normal splenorenal interface
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  • Case 24: normal common bile duct
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  • Case 25: normal gallbladder
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  • Case 26: free fluid
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  • Case 27: choledocholithiasis
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  • Case 28: hydronephrosis
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  • Case 29: biliary duct dilation
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  • Case 30: cholelithiasis
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  • Case 31: hydronephrosis
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