Echocardiography in the Acute Care Setting
Ultrasound has rapidly found its way into the clinical use across a variety of acute care settings. A modality that is portable, fast, and safe has made ultrasound a useful diagnostic aid. Trauma surgeons routinely use ultrasound when assessing trauma patients for such critical conditions as pericardial tamponade and intraperitoneal hemorrhage, and intensivists often assess for global cardiac function, pericardial effusions, valvular pathology, intravascular volume status, and hemothorax and pneumothorax. Others use ultrasound to guide a number of procedures, including thoracentesis or paracentesis and central line and peripheral nerve blockade placement. A quick bedside look can reveal much about the status of a patient – regardless of the specific care setting. As more and more clinicians gain skills in using ultrasound for assessments of volume status and cardiac function, ultrasound is likely to become a more important diagnostic tool in understanding the etiology of hemodynamically unstable patients.
KeywordsPericardial Effusion Blunt Abdominal Trauma Acute Care Setting Intraperitoneal Hemorrhage Postanesthesia Care Unit
I would like to thank Einat Mazor, RDCS, dedicated sonographer and echo lab coordinator here in our Department of Acute Care Medicine, for the generous donation of her time and skills in acquiring the ultrasound images included in this chapter.
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