April 10, 2020
Written by: Trisha Reo
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The current COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the benefit of Point-of-Care Ultrasound,commonly referred to as POCUS. POCUS is the use of ultrasound at the bedside and becomes an extension of the physical exam. It is used to focus on a symptom or clinical sign and
contributes to the clinical decision making process. More than ever, health care providers are turning to ultrasound in the clinical management of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.
POCUS is being used to detect pneumonia and cardiac abnormalities commonly seen in COVID-19 patients. So why is ultrasound becoming the new stethoscope?
Handheld ultrasound devices are affordable and portable. Most can be carried in your pocket. This portability allows the physician to completely cover the device with a sheath, decreasing the likeliness of contamination. This also allows the physician to perform the exam bedside, thus eliminating the need for the patient to be moved to different departments for diagnostic imaging. This takes care of a big infection control issue.
Mounting evidence demonstrates that lung US is more sensitive than CXR for interstitial patterns, small effusions and sub-pleural thickening. COVID-19 has characteristic ultrasound findings including thickening of the pleural line with irregularity, B-lines in variety of patterns and consolidations.
Ability to Assess Stability/Improvement:
There is increasing correlation between the appearance of A-lines on lung US and clinical improvement. Focused cardiac US is also being used to monitor patients as increasing data suggests many COVID-19 patients are developing heart problems. Initial studies have found that 1 in 5 patients have some level of cardiac damage, leading to heart failure and death, even among those who show no signs of respiratory distress.
Gulfcoast Ultrasound is committed to providing educational resources to our front line medical providers to increase their competence and confidence with Point-of-Care Ultrasound. Working in collaboration with the POCUS Certification Academy (POCUS.org), we have come together to provide Physicians, Sonographers, and Advance Practice Providers with the tools needed to incorporate ultrasound into their clinical practice. Whether you are experienced and already utilizing POCUS in everyday practice or just starting out, we have a variety of learning platforms that meet your needs. Between Online Course/ Assessment Bundles or attending a Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute Live Hands-on or Blended course, you will receive exclusive benefits of this collaboration with the POCUS Academy that will ensure you have the foundation and knowledge to confidently utilize Point-of-Care Ultrasound and set your goals towards earning POCUS Certificates or Certifications (and as a bonus, earn AMA PRA Category I Credit™ and other CME Credits*)!
Thank you for your continued dedication to your patients and our communities in this unprecedented time.
Serving the Medical Community
CME Credits Awarded