For the Emergency Physician learning core ultrasound, the use of echocardiography involves handling a new transducer becoming familiar with new marker positions and recognising new patterns. It is therefore one of the more challenging aspects of core ultrasound training.

Acquiring the broader skills of echocardiography clearly requires considerable training and experience. However, the very limited application of Echo in Life Support (ELS) is much easier to learn and apply in the ED resuscitation room. This is because ELS is focused, does not include complex measurements and seeks very specific qualitative information. The application of ELS is exclusively in cardiac arrest, and peri-arrest settings.

It is important to appreciate that the skills acquired by EPs when being trained in ELS are basic echocardiography skills and practitioners should not try to use echocardiography for aspects they are not trained for e.g. diagnosis of valvular pathology, measurements of ejection fraction.

Looking at another setting with critically ill patients, intensive care units, emergency echo represents an entry level in overall echocardiographic competence. See diagram below