Hospitalists get hands-on training at POC ultrasound pre-course


Hospitalists participated in a double-header of hands-on point-of-care ultrasound training here on Monday, looking to gain an edge in expertise in a role that’s becoming more and more common.

Nearly 100 hospitalists and other health care professionals heard talks on the fundamental principles of ultrasound and cardiac, lung and vascular, and abdominal ultrasound. The highlights of the sessions were two 80-minute hands-on segments using the probes.

“This course has grown and grown – this is the largest we’ve ever done,” said pre-course director Nilam Soni, MD, MS, FHM, associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.

Darnell Scott/Frontline Medical News

Dr. Joel Cho of the Kaiser Foundation Hospital San Francisco demonstrates the apical 4-chamber view during a hands-on training session.

A morning and afternoon session were held, each attended by 48 registrants. Because of high demand, the society added 12 spots to each session – and there was still a wait list, said Ricardo Franco-Sadud, MD, the other director of the course and associate professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

“The idea is to give you the most amount of time with the probe in their hand,” Dr. Franco said.

In one of the hands-on sessions, Adam Merando, MD, a hospitalist and associate program director of the internal medicine residency program at Saint Louis University, slid and rocked the probe on the stomach of a volunteer as the picture came into view.

“Now we’re getting an image,” his bedside instructor, Brandon Boesch, DO, a hospitalist at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., told him. Dr. Merando had found the liver.

He eventually found the main target, the inferior vena cava, and assessed its diameter in relation to the breathing of the “patient.” This information is used to gauge how responsive acute circulatory failure patients are to fluid therapy.

At one point, with another learner, the image shifted.

“You see how it feels like your hand is not moving, but the image is changing?” Dr. Boesch said. “That’s part of the fine motor skill.”

Dr. Kirk Spencer addresses attendees. Darnell Scott/Frontline Medical News

Dr. Kirk Spencer addresses attendees.

Kirk Spencer, MD, professor of medicine and a cardiologist at the University of Chicago and perennial participant in the course, said it’s a great way for hospitalists who were hesitant about learning ultrasound to get over the hump.

Benji Mathews, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, another bedside instructor, said the enthusiasm about the course is well founded.

“This is one of the few technologies that brings you back to the bedside.”

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