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Free Content Review: indications for ultrasound use in low‐ and middle‐income countries

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Objective  To determine the indications for using ultrasound, in low‐ and middle‐income countries (LMICs) and to assess whether its use alters clinical management.

Methods  Literature review. We conducted a Pubmed search on the clinical use of ultrasound in LMIC for articles published between January 2000 and December 2010, recording country of origin, speciality and whether ultrasound use led to a change in management.

Results  Fifty‐eight articles were identified from 32 countries and represented nine specialties. Ultrasound was most commonly used for assisting with the diagnosis of obstetrical conditions, followed by intra‐abdominal conditions such as liver abscesses and intussusceptions. Clinical management was altered in >30% of cases.

Conclusion  Ultrasound is a highly valuable diagnostic tool in LMICs and its use should be considered essential for all district medical facilities. The use could be applied more widely, eg., for tropical and non‐communicable diseases. Additional research is needed to further characterize the impact of task shifting on ultrasound use in LMICs.

Language: English

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1:  Surgeons OverSeas, New York, NY, USA 2:  Department of Radiology, SKS Hospital, Salem, India

Publication date: 2011-12-01

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