Focused Critical Care Echocardiography

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Abstract

Objective:

Portable ultrasound is now used routinely in many ICUs for various clinical applications. Echocardiography performed by noncardiologists, both transesophageal and transthoracic, has evolved to broad applications in diagnosis, monitoring, and management of critically ill patients. This review provides a current update on focused critical care echocardiography for the management of critically ill patients.

Method:

Source data were obtained from a PubMed search of the medical literature, including the PubMed “related articles” search methodology.

Summary and Conclusions:

Although studies demonstrating improved clinical outcomes for critically ill patients managed by focused critical care echocardiography are generally lacking, there is evidence to suggest that some intermediate outcomes are improved. Furthermore, noncardiologists can learn focused critical care echocardiography and adequately interpret the information obtained. Noncardiologists can also successfully incorporate focused critical care echocardiography into advanced cardiopulmonary life support. Formal training and proctoring are important for safe application of focused critical care echocardiography in clinical practice. Further outcomes-based research is urgently needed to evaluate the efficacy of focused critical care echocardiography.

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