The Particulars: Few studies have compared the safety and effectiveness of ultrasound with CT and x-ray imaging in clinical research involving care in ICUs.

Data Breakdown: Data from two ICUs—one using ultrasound as the standard of care for diagnosis and the other using conventional imaging, such as CT scans and x-rays—were compared for a study. There were fewer x-rays performed per patient stay in the ICU unit using ultrasound as the standard of care. This ICU also had fewer CT scans per patient stay when compared with the ICU using conventional imaging as the standard of care. Mortality rates did not differ greatly between the ICUs in the analysis.

Take Home Pearl: Use of ultrasound for imaging in the ICU appears to reduce patient radiation exposure without negatively affecting patient health when compared with CT or x-ray imaging.