In a recent publication through Medscape, they site a research article and presentation at the American College of Chest Physicians – in Chest Oct 2012 - stating “With minimal training, internal medicine house staff can successfully use hand-held ultrasound devices in the diagnosis of acute dyspnea.” This is huge! Why? Well, where do I begin? First off, lung ultrasound is advancing like never before – not that it wasn’t already known it was awesome for pneumothorax, pleural effusion, and pulmonary edema, but now the evaluation for pneumonia has gotten a lot of press. Secondly, you have more studies coming out that with minimal training, lung ultrasound can be used by physicians to help diagnose the cause for shortness of breath, which is great and helps get the fear of looking out of the conversation. FInally, and more exciting to me than anything above, is that bedside ultrasound is spreading!!! – to internal medicine (in this posting), but also to involve surgical clinics, sports medicine, pediatrics, and ophthalmologists - – using bedside ultrasound to aid in their evaluation of their patients.
The article describes: “Ravindra Rajmane, MD, from the New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues reported the study findings in a poster presentation here at CHEST 2012: American College of Chest Physicians Annual Meeting. “The technology of sonography has improved markedly over the past few years,” Dr. Rajmane told Medscape Medical News. “Our study underscores the ease of transporting and effectively applying this technology with minimal training,” she said. “Our residents were able to successfully learn the basics of lung ultrasonography with a 1-hour didactic lecture followed by 1 hour of hands-on training. Unstructured training was also provided during ICU [intensive care unit] rounds.” According to the researchers, acute dyspnea is normally assessed with a combination of history taking, physical examination, electrocardiography, chest x-ray, and lab work. Lung ultrasound is increasingly being used to assess acute respiratory conditions because it is faster, less invasive, and more sensitive.” – Hallelujiah!!!
Keep it spreadin….
Even the OBGYN doctors are learning to use lung ultrasound in evaluating shortness of breath in pregnant patients!
A prior case that evaluated a patient who came in with shock and shortness of breath illustrates a way lung ultrasound can be used to help evaluate, diagnose, and work up your patient and can be find here.