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Portable Ultrasound Devices in the Pre-Hospital Setting: A Review of Clinical and Cost-Effectiveness and Guidelines

Published on: May 29, 2015
Project Number: RC0662-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Devices and Systems
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report


  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of portable ultrasound (US) devices for patients in the pre-hospital setting?
  2. What is the cost-effectiveness of portable US devices for ;patients in the pre-hospital setting?
  3. What are the evidence-based guidelines associated with the use of portable US devices for patients in the pre-hospital setting?

Key Message

Low-quality evidence from two systematic reviews and one non-randomized study suggests that pre-hospital portable US use for a variety of clinical applications may improve the patient care process and influence treatment and patient management decisions. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support a beneficial effect on patient-related clinical outcomes such as morbidity or mortality. No evidence regarding the cost-effectiveness of these devices or evidence-based guidelines regarding their use were identified; therefore, the resource implications of adopting this technology, as well as their recommended use, are unclear.


ambulances, emergencies, emergency medical service communication systems, emergency medical services, emergency medicine, emergency responders, paramedics, point-of-care systems, rescue work, ultrasonography, imaging, First responder, Mobile, POCUS, PUD, Paramedic, Portable, ambulance, first responders, hand held, sonogram, sonography