Hand-carried ultrasoundsThe traditional physical examination is often significantly limited in the diagnosis of cardiopulmonary pathology. These diagnostic shortcomings are exaggerated in acutely ill ICU patients. Hand-carried ultrasounds (HCUs) are a new generation of portable ultrasound machines that are lightweight (6 to 10 lb), battery powered, and much less expensive (< $15,000) than the sophisticated “high-end” machines. Despite the fact that their initial introduction into clinical patient care was met with some criticism, the tremendous potential of HCUs to immediately provide diagnostic information at the bedside not assessable by the physical examination alone has been increasingly demonstrated and recognized in the last few years. These devices may facilitate the full clinical potential of ultrasound imaging in the ICU, with true portability, ease of use, and low cost. They are especially powerful when used as an adjunct to the physical examination. (more…)