PoCUS Previews 01: Intro to PoCUS

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Welcome to PoCUS Previews; CanadiEM’s newest infographic series! 

Ultrasound (US) is an imaging modality that uses high frequency soundwaves and their reflection to produce real time images of various structures within the human body. In Emergency Medicine, small portable US machines can be used to gain an abundance of clinical insight that can ultimately aid in diagnosis. However, generating and interpreting these images can be quite challenging. PoCUS Previews aims to simplify Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) concepts and scans into simple infographics so that you can generate and better make sense of the black and white static on the PoCUS machine.

Today’s infographic focuses on basic PoCUS concepts, breaking down PoCUS terminology, different types of probes and some knobology. First, we will define on common terms used to describe image characteristics using its echogenicity. Then we will characterize the three major PoCUS probes used in the ER and discuss its strengths and weaknesses. Finally, we will discuss the settings found on a PoCUS machine and how we can use these to optimize our image (also known as knobology).

We hope that you find these series helpful the next time your preceptor calls you in to do an US scan. As always, we would love to hear any feedback from you to help improve our future infographics in the series.

Stay tuned for the next graphic in the series that further explores image interpretation, probe handling and artifacts!

  1. Moore CL, Carmody KA, Feller-Kopman D. Handbook of Critical Care and Emergency Ultrasound. McGraw-Hill Education; 2011.
  2. Soni NJ, Arntfield R, Kory P. Point-of-Care Ultrasound. Elsevier Saunders; 2015.

Staff Reviewer

Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) has been proven to be both clinically valuable and readily learnable. Efficient and safe use of any POCUS applicaiton involves mastery of 4 domains: knowledge of indications, image generation, image interpretation, and clinical integration. Image generation and interpretation require an understanding of how ultrasound images are generated and displayed, sonographic planes and their associated imaging conventions, and transducer technique. This summary highlights the fundamentals of POCUS physics, knobology and technique.

Dr. Paul Olszynski
Dr. Olszynski is a physician and associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. He also serves as the Director of Emergency Ultrasound and is responsible for spearheading Point of Care Ultrasound education at the University of Saskatchewan.
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Revathi Nair

Revathi Nair

Rey is a second year medical student at University of Saskatchewan. Her current academic interests include Medical Education and Ultrasound. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with family and friends and pretend she is a contestant on the MasterChef (with little success).
Revathi Nair
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Revathi Nair

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