Ultrasound for the Diagnosis and Management of Ureterolithiasis in the Emergency Department

Reviewed and approved by the AAEM Board of Directors (3/17/2017)

The work-up of uncomplicated suspected ureterolithiasis has been shown to be expeditious when ultrasound is the diagnostic modality of choice. Classically, a non-contrast cat scan (CT) of the abdomen and pelvis has been used to determine the size and location of a suspected ureteral stone and to determine the extent of obstruction.1 Medical radiation has been linked to concern for radiation induced cancer. 2,3

In contrast, bedside Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) performed by the emergency physician permits faster image acquisition than CT scanning, in most cases. POCUS is a procedural skill that is part of the core curriculum of emergency medicine residency training. This practice statement will review the evidence for using ultrasound for the evaluation of patients with suspected ureterolithiasis.

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