Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Russell Kauffman


Point of care ultrasound (POCUS); Primary care; Family practice; Dyspnea; Pneumonia; Congestive heart failure (CHF); Pneumothorax; Asthma; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); Emphysema; Bronchitis; Pulmonary embolism (PE); Morbidity; Mortality; Outcomes


The purpose of this systematic literature review is to evaluate the applicability of point of care ultrasound (POCUS) in rural primary care. More specifically, the review seeks to evaluate the use of POCUS regarding outcomes in patients with dyspnea. Six of the most common and potentially life-threatening causes of dyspnea were chosen to review. They are asthma, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, pneumothorax, and pulmonary embolism. In this review, a literature search was performed using the following electronic databases: PubMed, Cochran Review, and Google Scholar. Only articles since 2011 were selected for review with the majority being within the last five years. All except one article is either a peer reviewed randomized control trial or systematic review. The non-peer reviewed article was included as it provides background, entry-level information on the application of point of care ultrasonography in primary care. It also cites peer-reviewed sources for support. Research consistently demonstrates point of care lung ultrasonography as an accurate tool to assist in examining a patient. It is also non-inferior to the respective conventional method of imaging for asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, pneumonia, pneumothorax, and pulmonary embolism. Unfortunately, evidence is lacking in definitively demonstrating that early rural primary care POCUS use improves outcomes. However, a few studies do demonstrate that it has the potential to improve patient outcomes and should be further studied.