Ultrasound has a range of common uses. Find out about these, common terminology and useful apps for clinicians.
What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound is a form of imaging modality used to produce images of soft tissues using non-ionising radiation.
How does ultrasound work?
An ultrasound transducer transmits high frequency sound waves to the human body. The sound waves are reflected by soft tissue organs back to the transducer. The reflected sound waves are then analysed by the transducer to produce an image.
What are the uses of ultrasound?
The common uses of ultrasound include:
- diagnosis of heart failure
- focused assessment with sonography for trauma
- ultrasound-guided procedure such as venous access, insertion of chest tube, thoracocentesis, paracentesis
- obstetrics and gynaecological diagnosis such as fibroids, anomaly scan, dating scan
- abdominal conditions, eg, gallstones, cholecystitis
- renal conditions such as hydronephrosis, renal mass
- thyroid conditions such as thyroid nodules, mass.
Common terminologies when using ultrasound
- Hyperechoic - bright (bones, fat, stones)
- Hypoechoic - dark (cartilage, muscles)
- Anechoic - black (fluid)
Recommended (free) medical ultrasound iBooks
- Rapid ultrasound – basics & RUSH exam
- Introduction to bedside ultrasound volume 1
- Introduction to bedside ultrasound volume 2
- Ultrasound guided regional anesthesia
- The ICU ultrasound pocket book
- Handheld cardiac ultrasound – case series
- Introduction to cardiac ultrasound
- Introduction to abdominal ultrasound
Emergency medicine ultrasound apps
"Ultrasound utilisation by emergency medicine physicians has dramatically increased over the last several years. As a majority of emergency rooms have started to store ultrasound machines in their department, it is essential physicians understand how to utilise these machines at the point of care. Mobile apps are fantastic tools for learning ultrasound due to their ability to easily display pictures and videos — critical for ultrasound learning." (Top 5 emergency medicine ultrasound apps iMedicalApps, 2013)
5 recommended emergency medicine ultrasound apps
- One minute ultrasound
- Emergency ultrasound handbook
- Emergency medicine ultrasound
- SonoSupport – a clinical emergency medicine and critical care ultrasound reference tool