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June 2015

Point-of-Care Ultrasound in Pediatric Clinical Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky
  • 2Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of New Jersey, Newark
  • 3Department of Emergency Medicine, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers University, Newark
JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(6):594-600. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.22

Importance  Point-of-care (POC) ultrasound has been used by a variety of nonradiologist physicians. Recently, POC ultrasound use by pediatricians has received increased attention with the practice of both established and novel applications.

Objectives  To review various uses of ultrasound by pediatricians, discuss challenges and potential pitfalls as pediatric physicians seek to use ultrasound in their practices, and consider various areas of research needs and opportunities.

Evidence Review  Available English-language publications from 1970 through December 31, 2014.

Findings  Limited research supports the notion that many POC ultrasound applications practiced by nonradiologist pediatricians can assist in clinical decision making and procedural success. Future challenges include the need for institutions to train and credential large numbers of health care professionals in the use of pediatric POC ultrasound, as well as the necessity of diverse research efforts, including the establishment of pediatric-specific norms, consideration of optimal educational strategies, and inquiry intended to identify best practices for clinical effectiveness and efficiency.

Conclusions and Relevance  Although considerable effort needs to be devoted to the continued development of pediatric POC ultrasound, there is potential for useful application in a variety of clinical and educational settings.