Is point-of-care ultrasound accurate and useful in the hands of military medical technicians? a review of the literature

David C. Hile, Andrew R. Morgan, Brooks T. Laselle, Jason D. Bothwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Over the past decade, point-of-care ultrasound (US) use by nonphysician providers has grown substantially. The purpose of this article is to (1) summarize the literature evaluating military medics' facility at US, (2) more clearly define the potential utility of military prehospital US technology, and (3) lay a pathway for future research of military prehospital US. The authors performed a keyword search using multiple search engines. Each author independently reviewed the search results and evaluated the literature for inclusion. Of 30 studies identified, five studies met inclusion criteria. The applications included evaluation of cardiac activity, pneumothorax evaluation, and fracture evaluation. Additionally, a descriptive study demonstrated distribution of US exam types during practical use by Army Special Forces Medical Sergeants. No studies evaluated retention of skills over prolonged periods. Multiple studies demonstrate the feasibility of training military medics in US. Even under austere conditions, the majority of studies conclude that medic can perform US with a high degree of accuracy. Lessons learned from these studies tend to support continued use of US in out-of-hospital settings and exploration of the optimal curriculum to introduce this skill.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)983-987
Number of pages5
JournalMilitary medicine
Volume177
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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