Synopsis of the point-of-care ultrasound assessment for perioperative emergencies

This module introduces the concept of a point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) examination for perioperative clinicians. A focused cardiac examination of ventricular filling and function is presented. An examination of the inferior vena cava is also reviewed as a tool to assess volume status. Finally, a brief examination of the lung and pleura is explored to aid the clinician in situations of patient hypoxia and difficult ventilation. Limited ultrasound cardiorespiratory examinations can be performed by non-cardiologists and non-radiologists. Information drawn from POCUS may aid in diagnosis and early rescue in perioperative care.

Point-of-care ultrasound is likely to become standard of care for anesthesiologists in the same way that stethoscopy is presently.

Objectives of the Continuing Professional Development module:

After reading this module, the reader should be able to:

  1. Describe a range of point-of-care ultrasound applications relevant to perioperative emergencies.
  2. Describe how to perform a focused cardiac ultrasound to answer binary questions regarding cardiac filling and function.
  3. Describe how to perform a focused ultrasound examination of the inferior vena cava and its relevance in assessing a patient in shock.
  4. Describe how to perform a limited ultrasound examination of the lungs and pleura to aid in the assessment of respiratory failure.

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