Point-of-Care UltraSonography (POCUS) deployed during the emergency treatment of patients with acute dyspnea has enormous advantages over standard diagnostic pathways. This is the finding of a joint review conducted by Danube University Krems and MedUni Vienna and recently published in the prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine. It allows serious conditions to be identified more quickly so that appropriate treatment can be initiated.
Working on behalf of the American College of Physicians, a joint study group from MedUni Vienna and Danube University Krems conducted a review of the value of Point-of-Care UltraSonography (POCUS) in patients with acute dyspnea (shortness of breath), with a view to drawing up a practical clinical treatment guideline.
Point-of-care ultrasonography involves the use of a mobile ultrasound device by the treating clinician to carry out an ultrasound scan at bedside. This allows several organs (scanning of lung and usually also heart, inferior vena cava and leg veins) to be scanned very quickly.
"In this systematic review, we were able to show that, when added to a standard diagnostic pathway, multi-organ point-of-care ultrasonography can significantly improve the correctness of diagnosis compared to the standard diagnostic pathway alone," explains principal investigator Gerald Gartlehner from Cochrane Austria at Danube University Krems.
"It allows conditions such as heart failure, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, pleural effusion or pneumothorax to be diagnosed more quickly, so that appropriate treatment can be initiated," adds Alexander Spiel, MedUni Vienna emergency doctor (on leave, head of the emergency department of the Clinic Ottakring, Vienna HealthCare Group), "the results of the review demonstrate the relevance of point-of-care ultrasonography as part of the acute diagnostic work-up."
Annals of Internal Medicine