The Ultimate Guide To Bedside Ultrasound


When you go to the hospital for a heart attack or are unconscious, it is not uncommon for the doctor to use a bedside ultrasound to check your heart and cardiovascular system. Along with that, bedside ultrasound can be used to diagnose other emergencies such as appendicitis and gallbladder problems. Also, bedside ultrasound is very common in pregnancy if a doctor suspects an emergency. Being able to easily and quickly complete a bedside ultrasound can be a matter of life and death. However, radiologists study for a long time to learn how to do ultrasound. Doctors go through a quick course but nothing compared to what they will need when the time and emergency comes. So read these few tips on how to quickly and easily complete a bedside ultrasound.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Read everything. Read yourself, read your wife and even read your cat if you want to. Just seeing and pointing out what things are and their location can help you read and complete an ultrasound better when under stress. Practice always improves a person’s ability to all skills, including ultra sounding. Emergency medicine ultrasound course material includes lots of practicing. You will get better with practice. Practicing can help you become faster and make some of the basic movements a part of muscle memory. This can make you faster in the heat of the moment when time really matters.

Look Back

Although in life it is often not recommended to look backwards, however when it comes to bedside ultrasound it is okay to look backward. When the excitement is over and the patient is on the way to recovery, go back and look at your saved images. Seeing places that you could have done better can help you be more successful next time. As you are going save your images. You can always go back and delete images if you want to. But going back and looking at the images can help you become better at bedside ultrasound.

Move the Patient

Although moving the ultrasound reader is the easiest way to go, if you are having trouble getting a clear picture then move the patient. Sometimes having a nurse help you flip the patient over or on their side can help you get a better picture. Along with that, moving the patient can help move organs, muscle and fat out of the way so that you can get a better read. Part of an emergency medicine ultrasound course is moving the patient to get the best view. Shifting the patient’s weight can help you more successfully see any problems going on inside the body.

Do Your Homework

It is inevitable that at some point you will have to complete a bedside ultrasound. Get a hold of a colleague if you know that it is not your specialty. Have them help you with some hands on practice. That can help you get tips from a professional and become a better bedside ultra sounder.

Throw in the Towel

If you are not able to get the information you need and time is of the essence, then call for help. Ask another doctor or have a nurse get a hold of a technician. You don’t want to be the uneducated doctor that wasted time trying to figure out an ultrasound machine and a patient died. When it comes to your pride, admit that you are having trouble and get help.


At the end of the day, you can only do the best job as you can. When it comes to emergency bedside ultra sounding, you have to get the information you need and keep going. Ultrasound isn’t a fool proof medical technology. Be sure to practice, look back, move the patient and when you need to , throw in the towel.