How Can POCUS Can Make A Substantial Difference In The ER?
POCUS- Point Of Care Ultrasound is a medical practice where trained professionals employ ultrasound to aid in the treatment and care of patients, wherever the patient might be. POCUS enables patients to get timely care without them having to go through the adversity of visiting the hospital, especially in an emergency. It also enables professionals to give intrinsic care to the patients, in a non-invasive manner.
Ultrasound can help a doctor diagnose the patient in real-time. Combined with the patient’s history and his current medical condition a doctor can then suggest the best treatment for the patient. Ultrasound can be a boon that highly benefits in an emergency when constantly monitoring the patient’s situation becomes necessary. Moreover, sonography improves the accuracy and safety of emergency medical procedures.
Usage Of Ultrasound In Emergency Procedures
Most patients who enter the emergency room need close surveillance and immediate treatment. Such is in the case of intraperitoneal bleeding in patients with trauma. Other conditions that are efficiently monitored through ultrasound include cases of pericardial effusion in heart patients, detecting abdominal aortic aneurysm, gallstones, cholecystitis and for evaluating pregnant women with vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain.
Here’s how ultrasounds make a huge impact on the successful treatment of such conditions:
1. Case Of Trauma
Ultrasound is the primary tool of diagnosis for patients who have suffered trauma. In the case of cardiac, abdominal, vascular and skeletal trauma, multisite scans can help in detecting the hemorrhages as blood loss is the main cause of trauma morbidity and mortality.
Portable ultrasounds can increase the efficiency of this process by taking the treatment to the patient. Another revolution in medical care during trauma is the use of high-definition ultrasound. This can help patients suffering low-speed or localised trauma by pinpointing the exact location of impact or to detect organ injuries.
When there is a case of blunt trauma, especially in concealed areas like the heart or abdomen, it becomes difficult to assess the situation with the help of CT scans as it might not be feasible, or if the patient is unstable. POCUS in such situations can be used to non-invasively assess the patient and suggest the best course of treatment.
2. First Trimester Pregnancy
The need for quick and accurate assessment arises when a pregnant patient in her first trimester experiences vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain. Urgency deepens if the patient appears to be unstable or if her vital signs begin to drop. An HD Point-Of-Care ultrasound can effectively detect if the patient has an intrauterine pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy, depending on the gestational age and anomaly scans. Transvaginal ultrasounds can even detect intrauterine pregnancies at lower HCG levels- around 1000 to 2000 mIU/mL. With the use of POCUS, possibilities of errors in diagnosis can be reduced and timely care can be provided to the patient.
3. Cardiac Scans
Cases of hypotension, dyspnea, pericardial effusion, cardiac arrest, cardiac trauma and chest pain are regularly seen in the ER. By using ultrasound the cause of these issues can be detected quickly. In the case of cardiac arrest, the detection of cardiac activity can contribute and guide in resuscitation. Sonography can also reveal the signs of tamponade if the patient has suffered pericardial effusion. Fast and accurate detection of the location of trauma can be lifesaving in this situation.
4. Abdominal And Vascular Scans
Even though medicare technology has improved significantly, abdominal aortic aneurism (AAA) has a significantly high mortality rate. In such a case the emergency physician would not want to delay the patient’s treatment. Physical examinations can hardly detect an aneurysm due to which sonography becomes significant. An ultrasound scan for AAA is also recommended to patients with hypotension. With the help of POCUS, the delays in the diagnosis of AA can be avoided which improves the patient’s survival rate.
POCUS is not only critical in emergencies but has become a regular practice to provide better treatments to patients. In certain medical emergencies where time is of the essence, POCUS can help save lives by accurately diagnosing the issue. Technologies like MediScan that give highly precise HD scans in under 5 minutes can help minimise the time of starting the treatment. With the help of portable equipment diagnosis can even be performed in the ambulance, on the way to the hospital.