Objectives: We assessed the clinical utility of hand-carried cardiac ultrasound (HCU) devices to assist physicians in the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.
Materials and methods: We reviewed 42 articles published from 1978 to 2004.
Results: The capability and simplicity of the HCU device assist physicians in the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease at the initial patients contact. HCU is particularly useful in the setting of emergency or critical care, community screening, or in remote areas with limited access to health care.
Conclusion: The inherent limitations of the physical examination as well as the reduced focus and training in physical diagnosis of current and recent medical school graduates has set the stage for the HCU device to modify traditional medical practices by complementing the physical examination with real-time cardiovascular imaging.