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

Last updated: 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.