Point-of-care ultrasound: It’s no replacement for the stethoscope



In his August editorial, Dr. Hickner noted that an article in the issue prompted him to “wonder whether ultrasound might become the stethoscope of the future” (J Fam Pract. 2016;65:516). To that I say that we need to avoid conflating the stethoscope with point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS).

It is well documented that auscultation skills rapidly deteriorate (specifically in the cardiology realm) in clinical practice.1 This may occur because many physicians already think ultrasound can replace actually listening to their patients’ hearts. The motto has become, “I’ll just order an echo.”

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