HISTORY OF CLINICAL ULTRASOUND (CUS) • 1950s: Medical ultrasound not widely utilized because patients were required to be submerged in water during the study. • 1970s: More advanced ultrasound machines are developed for use in limited clinical settings. • 1980s: Real-time ultrasound that generates an image without appreciable delay between signal generation and image display is developed. • Additional technological improvements result in smaller, faster, and more portable machines. Multi-frequency probes and color Doppler is developed. Initial feasibility and accuracy studies are completed for multiple new clinical applications. • 2001 and 2008: The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) publishes their position papers defining the clinical indications and training curricula for emergency CUS. • 2000s: More advanced CUS applications proposed.
Initial outcomes trials are conducted in the United States. • 2011: More than twenty-one different medical specialties are now utilizing CUS to improve patient care. BENEFITS OF CUS • Answers common clinical questions immediately at the bedside. • Expedites initiation of care with greater diagnostic confidence. • Provides vital initial hemodynamic information followed by response to therapy for unstable patients. • Helpful when the history is unobtainable or the physical exam is difficult. • Incurs no risk to the patient or healthcare provider. • Faster and less expensive than other imaging studies. • Portable and effective even in resource-limited environments. • Requires considerable initial and ongoing training, yet may be utilized rapidly with appropriate supervision.