Differential Diagnosis of Cardiovascular Symptoms: Setting the Expectations for the Ultrasound Examination and Medical Education


Within the past several decades, dramatic changes have been made in the field of diagnostic imaging. Many of these changes have been with ultrasound, which has been transformative in the efficiency and accuracy of diagnostics. Emergency physicians, intensivists, and other acute care clinicians are using and relying on critical care ultrasound imaging to better triage and diagnose patients at the point of care. As this new frontier of medicine continues to forge forward using this new and improving technology, we strongly believe in integrating ultrasound training earlier into the medical education curriculum. This paper reviews and discusses the transformation of medical diagnostics within the last few decades and describes changes that should be expected as point-of-care cardiac ultrasound evolves within medical education.



Emergency physicians are often presented with a variety of critically ill patients for whom they are given limited information or have little time to make diagnostic and treatment decisions about. Physicians in the intensive care unit and ward setting similarly deal with acutely ill patients in whom rapid, accurate diagnosis is essential. It is not uncommon to be presented with an altered patient from which a pertinent social, family, medical history cannot be elicited. Decisions often have to be made regardless of the mental capabilities and medical history of the patient, but the more information an emergency department physician has, the more accurate a treatment plan and diagnosis that can be made. Often that additional information comes in the form of medical diagnostic imaging. However, in many cases, imaging is not always the most efficacious and efficient means of gathering information in time-limited scenarios. Radiation, availability and accuracy of portable equipment, and the time it takes for imaging are all factors that can sometimes even make those resources undesirable. However, ultrasound is fast becoming an imaging modality that is rapidly and quickly employed in many of these time-limited and imaging-sensitive scenarios. Several scenarios are discussed herein to illustrate the goals and scope of a cardiac ultrasound evaluation at the point of care.


Autor / Fonte:J. Christian Fox, Heather Marino, Chanel Fischetti. Global Heart Volume 8, Issue 4 , Pages 289-292, December 2013
Link: http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/2211-8160/PIIS2211816013001695.pdf