DOI: 10.4037/aacnacc2023934 ISSN:

Point-of-Care Ultrasonography in the Intensive Care Unit for the Obstetric Patient

Stephen Lammers, Cara D. Dolin
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Medicine

Point-of-care ultrasonography (POCUS) is a tool that can be used to evaluate critically ill obstetric patients, in the same way as for nonpregnant patients. With knowledge of the physiology and anatomical changes of pregnancy, POCUS can provide meaningful information to help guide clinical management. A POCUS cardiothoracic evaluation for left and right ventricular function, pulmonary edema, pleural effusion, and pneumothorax can be performed in pregnancy. A Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma examination in pregnancy is performed similarly to that in nonpregnant patients, and the information obtained can guide decision-making regarding operative versus nonoperative management of trauma. POCUS is also used to glean important obstetric information in the setting of critical illness and trauma, such as fetal status, gestational age, and placental location. These obstetric evaluations should be performed rapidly to minimize delay and enable pregnant patients to receive the same care for critical illness and trauma as nonpregnant patients.

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