In the article, “Point-of-care ultrasound: Coming soon to primary care?” (J Fam Pract. 2018;67:70-79), Bornemann et al outline potential uses for point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS), describing in detail its role in cardiovascular and pulmonary exams, screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms, and diagnosing deep vein thrombosis. The American Academy of Family Physicians, in the Recommended Curriculum Guidelines for Family Medicine Residents (available at: https://www.aafp.org/medical-school-residency/program-directors/curriculum.html), also discusses obstetric and gynecologic uses for POCUS, such as determining fetal presentation and distinguishing viable pregnancy from miscarriage.
In my practice, I most often use POCUS for gynecologic and pregnancy-related issues, such as to ensure proper placement of an intrauterine device (IUD) when the strings are not visible, to determine gestational age in patients with uncertain last menstrual periods, and to confirm pregnancy location when patients have risk factors for, or symptoms suggestive of, ectopic pregnancy.
The breadth of care provided in family medicine is what makes it special. We must make sure that as we expand our care with new technologies, we do not trade tried and true uses of those technologies for newer ones.
Zoey Thill, MD, MPP