Ultrasound at Adult Emergency Department, Auckland City Hospital

By Dr Owen Doran, ED Specialist, Auckland AED Ultrasound Lead


Philips Sparq

We currently have two ultrasound machines in our department- an older Envisor (Philips) and our new machine, the Sparq (also a Philips machine). We were the first emergency department in Australasia to own the Sparq, and it has been put to good use – its size, manoeuvrability and ease of use have made it popular. The image quality is also an improvement on our older machine.

Positive FAST scan

Positive FAST scan

Being a major trauma centre, the main use of ultrasound in the department is FAST and EFAST in the resuscitation room.  This has allowed timely assessment for free intra peritoneal blood in our unstable trauma patients, supporting decisions regarding further management.

We also perform a number of screening scans for AAAs- particularly in older (>50yo) patients with undifferentiated abdominal pain. This has in the past, and will likely in the future been lifesaving.

The third biggest area of use has been procedural ultrasound- particularly for vascular access. As well as using ultrasound for safe central venous access, we are increasing using ultrasound for difficult peripheral access. This certainly saves time and patient discomfort. With the recent purchase of a peripheral and internal jugular phantom, we will be able to improve our teaching of these vital skills.

The next application where I think ultrasound will benefit our patients will be in patients with shock. There are a number of protocols (e.g. RUSH) that have been shown to be beneficial to patients whose shock is poorly differentiated- aiding diagnosis and guiding management. This is an area that I hope we will develop our skills as a group.

Our challenges in the near future include improving our accreditation for our senior doctors, and also developing ultrasound skills amongst our trainees.

Click here for information and documentation regarding accreditation

Click here for a list of web-based ultrasound resources 

Emergency Ultrasound Web Resources

By Dr Owen Doran, ED Specialist, Auckland AED Ultrasound Lead 


Essentially an online textbook of Emergency Medicine Ultrasound from ACEP- very well laid out, great graphics, and a relatively easy read.


Life in the Fast Lane

This is a great round up of ultrasound resource from the crew at LITFL- my favourite EM site.



These downloadable videos are provided free from CME download. A little dated looking, they are from some of the leading lights in Emergency Department ultrasound, and are well worth a look.


Ultrasound Podcast

An excellent resource from passionate ED sonographers.



This is a fantastic website from the Hennepin County Medical Centre- there are a few great ultrasound videos, as well as other useful clips.



An organisation dedicated to bringing critical care and emergency ultrasound to the world. If you get a chance to attend one of their conferences- jump at it!



For members of the ACEM, there is an ultrasound module as part of the e-learning. This comprises of online lectures, and images for review, with an Australasian bent.

The college website also has guidelines and policies related to ultrasound use in Australasian emergency departments.



The Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine is the peak body for promoting ultrasound in Australasia. As well as education, they are responsible for policy regarding ultrasound, and the promotion of ultrasound in the region.




Some useful education packages on this website.



Some useful resources on the Phillips website.


Courses/ Training  ( see also ASUM)

Australian Institute of Ultrasound

The team at the AIU on the Gold Coast run a range of courses for those interested in Emergency Ultrasound , catering for different levels of training, and also for those wanting more subspecialty areas ( like MSK and ECHO).


Ultrasound Training Solutions

Another popular ultrasound training company.


University of Otago

This is a great course that I completed last year- a one year certificate with an excellent faculty and a great way to hone your skills.


Wellington Ultrasound

This first department in NZ to have their own director of Emergency Ultrasound. They also run courses, so that we don’t have to leave good ole NZ for our sonography training!