Probe Selection

Transducers (Figure 1)

Phased Array Transducer (Low Frequency)

  • Cardiac imaging
  • Focused Assessment Sonogram for Trauma (FAST)
  • Deep Lung imaging

Curvilinear Transducer (Low Frequency)

  • Abdominal and pelvic imaging
  • Aortic imaging
  • Deep Lung imaging
  • FAST
  • Rapid Ultrasound in Shock (RUSH)

Linear Transducer (High Frequency)

  • Vascular access
  • Detailed Lung imaging
  • Superficial imaging

Presets/Exam Type (Figure 2)

  • Presets and Exam Type are preset features which optimize different types of imaging
  • We strongly recommend performing heart sonograms in cardiac presets
  • Except for the subxiphoid window in the FAST and RUSH, combine abdominal and cardiac imaging in a rapid assessment

Cardiac Presets (Figure 3)

  • Optimized for assessing the rapidly moving heart
  • Transducer indicator is displayed on the right of the screen (by convention/historical, and possibly to correlate with cardiac catheterization images)
  • Faster frame rate with less scan lines (grainy still image, but better moving image)
  • Less compression (appears more black and white)

Abdominal Presets (Figure 3)

  • Optimized deep imaging of viscera, less movement the heart
  • Transducer is displayed on the left of the screen (most ultrasound imaging displays on the left)
  • Lower frame rate with more scan lines (better images of still structures such as the Liver, but heart can appear dysfunctional)
  • More compression (Smooth grey images)


Figure 1 - Probes

Figure 2 - Orientation

Figure 3 - Abdominal and Cardiac Views


Clip 1 - PLA with Abdominal Preset

Clip 2 - PLA with Cardiac Preset


Moore, Christopher L., and Joshua A. Copel. “Point-of-care ultrasonography.” New England Journal of Medicine 364.8 (2011): 749-757.