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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-8

Application of point-of-care cardiac ultrasonography in COVID-19 infection: Lessons learned from the early experience


1 Department of Ultrasound, Tongji Medical College, Union Hospital, Huazhong University of Science and Technology; Hubei Province Key Laboratory of Molecular Imaging, Wuhan, China
2 Department of Medical Imaging and Radiological Technology, Yuanpei University of Medical Technology, Hsinchu; Department of Radiology, School of Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, National Yang Ming University, Taipei; Department of Radiology, Yee Zen General Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Mingxing Xie
Department of Ultrasound, Tongji Medical College, Union Hospital, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430022
China
Prof. Yi-Hong Chou
Department of Medical Imaging and Radiological Technology, Yuanpei University of Medical Technology, Hsinchu
Taiwan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/JMU.JMU_140_20

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The outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 infection, also known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), was formally defined a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020, and is still a global health issue. Since there is a high prevalence of acute cardiac injury in patients with COVID-19 infection, point-of-care cardiac ultrasound (PoCCUS) may be used for longitudinal monitoring of patients infected with COVID-19. However, there is still limited experience on the application of PoCCUS in the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the point of care setting in our system, focused cardiac US exams were performed with specific imaging protocols on the basis of suspicion of a specific disease, such as ruling out tamponade or thrombotic complications. Our preliminary experience shows that PoCCUS helps distinguish the causes of dyspnea in febrile patients. The COVID-19 infection may play a role in unmasking or exacerbating underlying chronic cardiovascular conditions, especially in patients with inadequate past history. In hospitalized patients with COVID-19, CURB-65 score for pneumonia severity and raised D-dimer were significantly associated with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). COVID-19 patients with DVT had worse prognosis, and patients with lower leg edema deserve further evaluation by using point-of-care ultrasound for the lower legs and heart. In COVID-19 patients with arrhythmia, PoCCUS used by experienced hands may reveal abnormal right ventricle (RV) functional parameters and lead to a more comprehensive cardiac US study. When there is suspicion of cardiac disease, PoCCUS can be done first, and if information is inadequate, limited transthoracic echocardiography (TTE), and critical care echocardiography (CCE) can be followed. Ultrasound practitioners should follow the standard precautions for COVID-19 as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent transmission of infection, regardless of suspected or confirmed COVID-19.


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