Point-Of-Care Ultrasound In The Amazon Jungle: A Case Series
Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is a portable and cost-effective tool that can be invaluable in resource-limited settings. We present a case series of three patients in whom POCUS was used as a key to diagnosis, and thus to facilitate treatment. Over a 2-week period, a group of physicians provided direct patient care in multiple remote villages in the Amazon jungle of Peru. This "mobile" clinic served over 1400 patients who would otherwise have to travel several hours by boat to seek health care. We present a case series of three patients in whom POCUS was used as a key to diagnosis, and thus to facilitate treatment. Utilizing POCUS in remote, resource-limited areas can help to facilitate definitive diagnosis and management. POCUS can also be used for therapeutic interventions, assisting in safety and accuracy of procedures that includes incision/drainage of abscesses or joint injections. POCUS was particularly useful in generating appropriate referrals, reducing the time to definitive treatment for the patient. Ensuring that an accurate diagnosis was made with ultrasound provided confidence that the resources of the patient and the healthcare system were being utilized appropriately. Our team intends to pursue further research into the effects of POCUS on clinical decision making in the Amazon jungle.