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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Early Multi-organ Point-of-Care Ultrasound Evaluation of Respiratory Distress During SARS-CoV-2 Outbreak: Case Report


Introduction: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by the virus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).  Several case series from Italy and China have highlighted the lung ultrasound findings of this disease process and may demonstrate its clinical utility during the current pandemic.

Case Report: We present a case of a COVID-19 patient who presented to the emergency department twice within a 24-hour period with rapidly progressing illness. A multi-organ point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) evaluation was used on the return visit and assisted clinical decision-making.

Discussion: A multi-organ POCUS exam allows for quick assessment of acute dyspnea in the emergency department. As the lung involvement of COVID-19 is primarily a peripheral process it is readily identifiable via lung ultrasound. We believe that when applied efficiently and safely a POCUS exam can reduce clinical uncertainty and potentially limit the use of other imaging modalities when treating patients with COVID-19.

Conclusion: This case highlights the utility of an early multiorgan point-of-care assessment for patients presenting with moderate respiratory distress during the severe SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

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