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Book and Media Reviews
November 5, 2008

Emergency Ultrasound

JAMA. 2008;300(17):2064-2065. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.542

The use of bedside ultrasound in medicine has grown exponentially over the past several decades to include applications in emergency medicine, surgery, cardiology, obstetrics, and critical care. In the second edition of Emergency Ultrasound, the editors have created an improved reference for novice as well as experienced practitioners seeking to expand their clinical skills with ultrasound in the emergency department (ED) and other clinical settings.

The book begins with several chapters covering the fundamentals of establishing and maintaining an ultrasound program in the ED. The first chapter covers administrative aspects, including physician training and credentialing, billing, and quality improvement. The chapter structure provides an exceptionally user-friendly checklist of tasks that provides a thoughtful overview of the basic and essential components of an ultrasound program. The second chapter covers ultrasound equipment considerations, including ultrasound machine and probe options, desirable features, recording devices, and supply and maintenance issues. An appendix at the end of this chapter complements the written work with images of machines and a table of machine specifications. Together, these chapters present a comprehensive approach to the administrative aspects of using ultrasound in the ED and will not only assist a group in starting an ultrasound program but will help to enhance and refine an established program. The third chapter covers the basics of ultrasound physics and common artifacts and appropriately is placed prior to the chapters on focused-ultrasound examination. Comprehension of these topics is essential when performing ultrasound examinations, because artifacts can confuse even the most experienced sonographer. This concise, coherent chapter provides an array of images, including shams and anatomical examples that clearly depict the intended concepts. The result is an excellent preface to the sections covering the clinical applications and provides a solid foundation in ultrasound principles.