CCUS and comprehensive ultrasound should be viewed as complimentary modalities in the care of the critically ill patient. CCUS is most often performed by acute care physicians at the bedside and is goal-directed, performed in the context of immediate and time-sensitive decision making. Ultrasound modalities such as comprehensive echocardiography and abdominal ultrasound are also essential; however, urgent access around the clock may be limited, constrained by resources and frequently requires patient transport.
CCUS empowers acute care physicians with the ability to confront dilemmas that are beyond the realm of bedside examination and at times, conventional radiographs. One example of CCUS is thoracic ultrasound, a non-invasive technique that has demonstrated superiority to chest x-rays in identification of parenchymal and pleural pathology4,5. Furthermore, modalities such as basic critical care echocardiography can be taught in an accelerated fashion with favorable inter-rater reliability6,7. CCUS modalities such as focused echocardiography6,8,9 and lung ultrasound, have demonstrated the ability to reduce the differential diagnosis, improve the time to diagnosis and frequently lead to changes in management 9,10. These are only a select few of a diverse array of CCUS applications.