Ultrasound use in the intensive care unit (ICU) has rapidly moved beyond a simple tool to assist vascular access. A growing body of literature supports the use of ultrasound evaluation in the critically ill patient for abnormalities in the lungs and pleura, heart and abdomen. This article will briefly attempt to review the state of critical care ultrasound and discuss practical issues in implementation and sustainability of critical care ultrasonography in the ICU.

The impetus for point-of-care ultrasound developed from studies which demonstrated that trainees’ physical exams assisted by ultrasound were far more accurate than unassisted physical exams performed by attending physicians. The feasibility and value of ultrasound during advanced cardiac life support have also been reported.3,4 

Point-of-care ultrasound in the ICU falls under the auspices of critical care ultrasound (CCUS). The purpose of...

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