Diagnostic point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) for gastrointestinal pathology: State of the art from basics to advanced

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The use of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) by non-radiologists has dramatically increased. POCUS is completely different from the routine radiological studies. POCUS is a Physiological, On spot, extension of the Clinical examination, that is Unique, and Safe. This review aims to lay the basic principles of using POCUS in diagnosing intestinal pathologies so as to encourage acute care physicians to learn and master this important tool. It will be a useful primer for clinicians who want to introduce POCUS into their clinical practice. It will cover the basic physics, technical aspects, and simple applications including detection of free fluid, free intraperitoneal air, and bowel obstruction followed by specific POCUS findings of the most common intestinal pathologies encountered by acute care physicians including acute appendicitis, epiploic appendagitis, acute diverticulitis, pseudomembranous colitis, intestinal tuberculosis, Crohn's disease, and colonic tumours. Deep understanding of the basic physics of ultrasound and its artefacts is the first step in mastering POCUS. This helps reaching an accurate POCUS diagnosis and avoiding its pitfalls. With increased skills, detailed and accurate POCUS findings of specific intestinal pathologies can be achieved and properly correlated with the clinical picture. We have personally experienced and enjoyed this approach to a stage that an ultrasound machine is always accompanying us in our clinical on calls and rounds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
JournalWorld Journal of Emergency Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2018


  • Appendicitis
  • Basic physics
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Bowel perforation
  • Diverticulitis
  • Free fluid
  • Inflammation
  • Intestine
  • Point-of-care
  • Tuberculosis
  • Tumour
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine


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