Echo is a core skill in caring for acutely unwell patients

Focused cardiac ultrasound is emerging as a vital tool in the armamentarium of the modern intensivist and critical care practitioner. From assessment of the patient in shock (1) to assessment of fluid status (2,3), focused echocardiography permits a deeper understanding of complex physiology in the critically ill patient. Focused cardiac ultrasound exists on the spectrum of care alongside comprehensive echocardiography, a sentiment echoed by the American Society of Echocardiography and endorsed by guidelines (4,5). A number of expert recommendations and consensus documents provide a template for which to base educational infrastructure in focused cardiac ultrasound (4,6–8). The general principles of CCUS are intertwined with focused cardiac ultrasound including:

  • Complementary or as an extension to clinical exam
  • Repeatable and non-invasive
  • Available 24/7 at the bedside
  • Goal-directed to facilitate bedside decision-making
  • Collaborative along the spectrum of care with comprehensive imaging
  • Integrated directly into the clinical context
  • Facilitate timely diagnosis and management of life-threatening pathology

Based on the above principles, our Edmonton CCUS program is developing a focused, yet rigorous curriculum in focused echocardiography for the advanced acute care provider. This section will serve as an educational repository and training base for guidance in focused echocardiography, specifically adapted for the Edmonton zone.


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Kanji HD, McCallum J, Sirounis D, MacRedmond R, Moss R, Boyd JH. Limited echocardiography-guided therapy in subacute shock is associated with change in management and improved outcomes. J Crit Care. 2014;29(5):700-705.

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