Ultrasound (US) was introduced in the 1950s and since then its use has increased exponentially. This has been facilitated by significant improvement in the probe technology, increasing access to portable machines and better understanding of lung, heart, abdominal and vascular US. Use of critical care US (CCUS) is now extremely common. It is important for frontline physicians who must make appropriate and timely decisions within seconds. It is safe, convenient and readily available in many centers. The concept of point of care ultrasound (POCUS) differs from US screening by a radiologist or sonographer. It is, rapid focused and goal-orientated. Despite its major limitation, e.g. operator dependence, bedside CCUS can be used for an ever-increasing range of indications. This narrative review will describe the potential role of CCUS as the replacement for the stethoscope in the 21st century and the limitations which must be overcome to achieve this.
- Critical care
- Point of care ultrasound