Bedside ultrasonography is rapidly gaining popularity in the evaluation of emergency patients. Several manufacturers have developed hand-held ultrasound machines that make the technology easy to transport and available in settings where such diagnostic tests were previously unobtainable. The miniaturization of equipment often means compromises and no studies exist comparing the high quality imaging capabilities of larger conventional ultrasound units to hand-held machines on actual patients. We present 3 cases in which intra-abdominal fluid stripes, important markers of intraperitoneal bleeding, were not visible with a popular hand-held unit, but were identified with a larger mobile ultrasound machine. These findings should caution emergency physicians to be aware of this limitation alone with the many advantages of these new and popular hand-held ultrasound units. Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.
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