Integration of bedside ultrasound into the ICU—a review of indications, techniques and interventions

Nathaniel Balmert, Jairo Espinosa, Mohamed-Omar Arafeh, Joseph Costello, Stephanie Markle


Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) has seen an increase in use over the past several decades, especially in intensive care units (ICUs) and emergency departments. Use is divided into two main categories including diagnostic and procedural; enabling a more focused, less comprehensive examination than standard imaging provides. Rapid dynamic imaging at the bedside by the clinician allows for more efficient medical decision making, reducing medical errors and complications. Use of the modality at the bedside by the non-radiologist and non-cardiologist to examine the heart, lungs, obtain vascular access, and perform small drainage procedures has allowed for cost effective management. Currently used most prevalently in the ICUs and emergency departments to rapidly recognize and diagnose patients before initiating treatment plans. In addition to the diagnostic capabilities the use of US to help reduce complications and costs associated with guided procedures has increased and become standard of care over the past decades.