New directions in point-of-care ultrasound at the crossroads of paediatric emergency and critical care

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The diagnostic capability, efficiency and versatility of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) have enabled its use in paediatric emergency medicine (PEM) and paediatric critical care (PICU). This review highlights the current applications of POCUS for the critically ill child across PEM and PICU to identify areas of progress and standardized practice and to elucidate areas for future research.

Recent findings

POCUS technology continues to evolve and advance bedside clinical care for critically ill children, with ongoing research extending its use for an array of clinical scenarios, including respiratory distress, trauma and dehydration. Rapidly evolving and upcoming applications include diagnosis of pneumonia and acute chest syndrome, identification of intra-abdominal injury via contrast-enhancement, guidance of resuscitation, monitoring of increased intracranial pressure and procedural guidance.

Summary

POCUS is an effective and burgeoning method for both rapid diagnostics and guidance for interventions and procedures. It has clinical application for a variety of conditions that span PEM and PICU settings. Formal POCUS training is needed to standardize and expand use of this valuable technology by PICU and PEM providers alike.

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