Maverick Medical Education has always been passionate about training medical professionals in a wide array of techniques to provide communities with the best care and treatment options. We also reap the benefits of seeing how the techniques we are invested in can be utilized in different ways, rapidly adapting to serve the needs of our patients. While we intrinsically understand the importance of Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) in multiple settings, we never imagined the benefits it may have to help medical teams in treating a global pandemic.
How POCUS is utilized in patients with COVID-19?
A study has been done analyzing data recovered from China of doctors utilizing Point of Care Ultrasound in their patients already diagnosed with COVID-19. According to their records, the patients discussed were non-critical, but no expansion of this definition was offered. Point of Care Ultrasound in these cases specifically focused on the patients’ lungs, observing visual changes and examining overall function. This monitoring helped doctors make decisions in regards to care.
Effectiveness in care
For the studies considered, POCUS provided the opportunity for immediate feedback and the observation of how COVID-19 progressed in impact on the patients. According to Ultrasound G.E.L., benefits include “fast, bedside, no radiation. Likely more sensitive than chest x-ray. Easier to disinfect equipment compared to CT scan. Lends itself to repeat examinations for monitoring disease course.” Effectively, POCUS provides immediate and detailed information on an ongoing basis in this scenario, just as others we have considered for this technology in the past.
An additional study done in the United States, reported to the Radiology Society of North America, touts the benefits of using POCUS to diagnose pneumonia in patients with COVID-19. While additional research must be done, their study found when comparing data collected from CT with data collected from POCUS, there was a strong correlation in diagnoses. POCUS provides the benefit of being more portable, easier to clean and disinfect, and may be easier for a smaller clinic or hospital to obtain than a CT machine, opening more locations for treatment as the virus potentially expands it’s reach. By transitioning the diagnosis point to a patient’s room, hospitals also minimize the exposure and transference of disease to others as the patient is in less contact with medical personnel and will not have the chance to contaminate additional surfaces.
Considerations in using POCUS
One of the largest considerations for expanding Point of Care Ultrasound in the treatment of patients with COVID-19 is along the same vein of all other treatment obstacles currently faced. With hospitals being underequipped with the technology and trained staff in shorter supply than possibly needed, less patients will experience the benefits of the imaging produced by POCUS. If some projections come to fruition, the staffing will become a particular issue as medical providers fall ill themselves. In order to combat this, proper protection and sanitation will be crucial to expanding Point of Care Ultrasound to as many patients as possible. Beyond the protection needed for medical providers, “a protective barrier and 75% alcohol solution [should be] used to protect and disinfect” according to the Ultrasound G.E.L. Podcast. POCUS is additionally vital in diagnosing other, non-COVID-19 related issues at this time as patients continue to need treatment and care for other ailments. Minimizing their exposure to other areas of the hospital will reduce their chance of contact with the virus.
To learn more about our course on Point of Care Ultrasound and how Maverick Medical Education can assist you in working with your patients and community contact us today. Some of our courses are temporarily transferring to an all inclusive online course and all of our certifications have an online component in our front-loaded model for learning at home before in person practice takes place.