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Special Operator Level Clinical Ultrasound: An Experience In Application And Training

Spring 2010

Morgan AR, Vasios WN, Hubler DA, Benson PJ. 10(2). 16 - 24. (Journal Article)


Over the past few decades, ultrasound has evolved from a radiology and subspecialist-centric instrument, to a common tool for bedside testing in a variety of specialties. The SOF community is now recognizing the relevancy of training medics to employ this technology for multiple clinical indications in the austere operating environment. In the Fall 2008 issue of Journal of Special Operations Medicine two of the authors described the concept of training SOF medics to employ portable ultrasound as a diagnostic aid. After over two years of concerted effort, the authors trained 29 out of 40 medics of a Special Forces battalion. Retrospective analysis of the quality assurance data for ultrasound studies conducted placed the 109 studies into six categories, allowing inference of trends in clinical indication for ultrasound exams as determined by the SOF medic-ultrasonographer. The resulting distribution suggests that indications for fractures and superficial applications are as prevalent as those for focused abdominal sonography in trauma (FAST) and pneumothorax exams. This analysis focuses on Special Operator Level Clinical Ultrasound (SOLCUS), an ultrasound training curriculum specifically for SOF medics, and helps appropriately prioritize its objectives. Despite the success of this experience, there are several issues requiring resolution before being able to integrate ultrasound training and fielding into the SOF medical armamentarium.

PMID: 20936599