Since the introduction of the bedside ultrasound to emergency medicine more than 20 years ago, many new applications have evolved for it. Meanwhile, the scope of bedside ultrasound continues to grow tremendously. As a result of continuous progress in this field, point-of-care ultrasound scanning is now a focused ultrasound scan that is mainly performed by nonimaging clinicians in the physical examination of the patients.

Recent studies have investigated the possibility of performing a wide array of diagnostic, procedural and therapeutic applications for bedside ultrasound. It has been reported to have the ability to identify multiple diseases, including appendicitis, pyloric stenosis and intussusception.

Likewise, novel applications of ultrasound have been investigated with promising results. Some of these applications include cardiac evaluation in acutely-ill patients and skull-fracture identification in head injury patients.

Cranial ultrasound is an important part of the neonatology, which is routinely used for diagnosis of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH). To further highlight the importance of point-of-care pediatric ultrasound, the American College of Emergency Physicians ultrasound guidelines highlighted that although cranial ultrasound was not considered a core emergency ultrasound application, this novel approach might prove beneficial in the ER setting.

In a recent study in 2013, the effectiveness of using a high-fidelity ultrasound simulator in the training program for medical learners was assessed along with the training of image acquisition and interpretation. A total of 12 residents or clerks underwent standard training in different formats, including online courses, didactic teaching and interactive hands-on workshop with the use of high-fidelity ultrasound simulator.

Abdominal and cardiothoracic evaluation by ultrasound protocol was selected as the curriculum for this training. A total of 72 simulated emergency cardiorespiratory scenarios were generated in order to assess the participants. In the assessment process, the ability to independently complete an abdominal and cardiothoracic evaluation was assessed as the measuring factor for success.

A total of 99.7 percent of the participants were able to independently generate the expected ultrasound windows during the course of 72 simulated scenarios. Furthermore, 93 percent of the participants were able to correctly interpret the 72 abdominal and cardiothoracic evaluations. This study further demonstrated that a focused training process could lead to an appropriate degree of competency in using bedside ultrasound to sufficiently acquire and interpret the results.

In summary, with all the advances in the technology, bedside ultrasound has become cheaper, smaller and easier to use, which has been translated into a broader scope of use by surgeons. This widespread growth might generate a gap between its use and the training available for its use.

Therefore, it might be beneficial to include the bedside ultrasound in general surgery training. Furthermore, large-scale studies and a continued growth of education in this field might be needed to further explore the possibility of its inclusion into routine clinical practice.