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Over the last several decades, the technological advances in ultrasound have been staggering. Ultrasound is now widely available as an affordable, safe, portable, versatile, and high-quality imaging tool for diagnostic and procedural guidance across a wide variety of specialties.

However, ultrasound remains a user-dependent technology. This technology can only be effective when used by people who understand what it can do as well as its limitations.

The uses of ultrasound in the critical care and emergency setting share many aspects—both critical care and emergency medicine involve the care of patients with a broad array of potentially life-threatening conditions that can be diagnosed using ultrasound and aided with ultrasound-guided procedures.

The purpose of this manual is to serve as an easily accessible, practical guide for point-of-care ultrasound use in both the critical care and emergency department setting. We hope that emergency and critical care providers will be stimulated to learn more, deepen their knowledge of sonography, and broaden their use of ultrasound to improve the care of their patients.

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