Critical care echocardiography - A driven approach to undifferentiated shock


St. Luke's Medical Center


The clinical approach to undifferentiated shock in critically ill patients should be revised to use modern, point-of-care tools that are readily available. With the increasing availability of 2-dimensional ultrasonography and advanced Doppler capabilities, a quick, simplified, and integrated stepwise approach to shock using critical care echocardiography is proposed. Evidence supports the feasibility and usefulness of critical care echo-cardiography in enhancing diagnostic accuracy for shock, but there is a lack of systematic application of the technology in patients with undifferentiated shock. The proposed approach begins with the use of noninvasive ultrasonography with pulsed-wave Doppler capability to determine the flow state by measuring the velocity time integral of the left ventricular outflow tract. This narrative review explores the use left ventricular outflow tract velocity time integral, velocity time integral variation, limited visceral organ Doppler, and lung ultrasonography as a systematic approach for patients with undifferentiated shock.



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