Emergency MedicineRadiologySMACCUltrasoundPoint of care Intestinal Ultrasound

Point of Care Intestinal Ultrasound by Lauren Westafer

When looking into someone’s abdomen, the first thing you’ll notice is that it almost looks like there is nothing there.

For Dr. Lauren Westafer, the gut looks like a black box. There’s a lot of gas which makes it hard to see arteries and organs.

In this podcast, Lauren discusses point of care Intestinal Ultrasound.

To do an intestinal ultrasound, first, rub the curvilinear probe over the abdomen… That’s it as far as technique is concerned! There is nothing  overly complicated for such a useful procedure.

Why do we still need an ultrasound for small bowel obstructions when we already have other tools like patient history, a physical exam, and x-ray?

Unfortunately, these tools are all unreliable for diagnosing small bowel obstructions. What’s more, the training for gut ultrasound doesn’t take much time. It takes around 10 minutes to do 5-10 scans.

The scanning procedure itself takes less than five minutes to perform. For such a high-value procedure, it takes an incredibly low amount of effort and time!

When conducting a gut ultrasound, you are looking for dilated bowel (greater than 2.5 cm) and abnormal peristalsis. Lauren explains exactly what to look for, especially when recognising patterns of abnormal peristalsis.

Lauren encourages us to embrace a gut ultrasound. From DAS SMACC, tune in to a discussion on Point of Care Intestinal Ultrasound by Lauren Westafer.

For more like this, head to our podcast page. #CodaPodcast

Lauren Westafer

Lauren Westafer is an emergency physician in Massachussetts. She authors the blog The Short Coat (shortcoatsinEM.blogspot.com) and co-hosts the emergency medicine core content podcast, FOAMcast. She also dabbles in research and implementation science and is currently funded by an NHLBI K12 grant studying the implementation of evidence-based approaches to testing for pulmonary embolism.