Point-of-care ultrasonography in the allergy and immunology clinic
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OBJECTIVE: To summarize evidence supporting the use of point-of-care ultrasonography as a clinical tool for allergists and immunologists. DATA SOURCES: Cochrane Library, Medline, EMBASE, and Scopus databases were searched for articles published before December 18, 2018. STUDY SELECTIONS: We included any retrospective or prospective study that evaluated ultrasonography in allergy and immunology and epinephrine autoinjector (EAI) needle length. RESULTS: The standard EAI needle length may be inadequate for intramuscular delivery of epinephrine, particularly for women, at risk of anaphylaxis. In patients who weigh less than 15 kg, the lengths of commercially available EAIs may be too long, risking inadvertent intraosseous injection and resultant complications. Ultrasonography can be routinely used in the allergy clinic to guide needle length and angle for subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy injections to minimize systemic adverse effects. CONCLUSION: Point-of-care ultrasonography can be a useful tool to enhance patient care and safety in an allergy clinic. Ideally, all patients prescribed EAIs should have ultrasonographic measurement of the skin to muscle distance and skin to bone distance to assist in identifying patients at risk of subcutaneous or intraosseous injection in anaphylaxis and those at risk of intramuscular injection during subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy injections.
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