Point-of-care ultrasound has become the standard of care in numerous medical specialties across Canada including emergency medicine and critical care. It is also being integrated in medical schools and residency programs across the nation.

It is time for the practice of family medicine to begin using POCUS so that our patients may experience its benefits in the hands of the physician they trust most – their family doctor.

Core applications include:

1. Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms
2. Confirming intra-uterine pregnancy, fetal cardiac activity, and confirming dates
3. Identifying ascites in a patient with a distended abdomen
4. Assessing for pericardial effusion in patients with dyspnea

Other applications include:

1. Identifying cholelithiasis and cholecystitis
2. Assessing for hydronephrosis
3. Musculoskeletal applications (ie. rotator cuff tear)
4. 3rd trimester obstetrics applications (ie. placental position, fetal presentation)


1. Deshpande R, Akhtar S, Haddadin AS. Utility of ultrasound in the ICU. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2014;27:123-132
2. Steinmetz P, Dobrescu O, Oleskevich S, et al. Bedside ultrasound education in Canadian medical schools: a national survey. Can Med Educ J. 2016;7:e78-e86
3. Steinmetz P, Oleskevich S. The benefit of doing ultrasound exams in your office. J Fam Pract. 2016 August; 65(8):517-523
4. Blois B. Office-based ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm. Can Fam Physician. 2012;58:e172-178
5. Keith R, Frisch I. Fetal biometry: a comparison of family physicians and radiologists. Fam Med. 2001;33:111-114