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Case report
Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) as the keystone investigation in undifferentiated dyspnoea
  1. Sara Montemerani1,
  2. Valeria Donati2,
  3. Nicola Di Pietra2 and
  4. Giovanni Iannelli2
  1. 1UOC Medicina e Chiururgia d'accettazione e d'urgenza, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese, Siena, Toscana, Italia
  2. 2UOC Medicina e Chiururgia d'accettazione e d'urgenza, Ospedale San Donato, Arezzo, Toscana, Italia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sara Montemerani; sara.montemerani{at}


Dyspnoea is defined as a subjective perception of laboured breathing. It is a common cause of access to the emergency department (ED), it has a high rate of intensive care unit admission and a high mortality. The most common causes of dyspnoea in the adult include pneumonia, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary embolism and asthma. Due to the high variety of dyspnoea’s causes, the need for a rapid and accurate diagnosis puts the emergency physician in trouble. Moreover, standard tests such as chest radiography, B-type natriuretic peptide and d-dimer require time and may be less useful in patients with respiratory failure who require urgent therapy. Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is rapid, non-invasive, repeatable and a useful tool in evaluating patients with acute and severe dyspnoea. This case report demonstrates the usefulness of POCUS in a patient with undifferentiated respiratory failure presenting to the ED.

  • venous thromboembolism
  • adult intensive care
  • pulmonary embolism
  • ultrasonography
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  • Contributors SM, VD and NDP dealt with the clinical case, while GI supervised the whole work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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