PEARLS for an Ultrasound Physical and Its Routine Use as Part of the Clinical Examination

Michael Wagner, MD; Janice Boughton, MD


South Med J. 2018;111(7):389-394. 

In This Article


Although the PEARLS examination improves bedside accuracy where traditional maneuvers often fall short, a US physical should supplement, not completely replace, many traditional examination skills. An ultrasound machine cannot sense depression, hear wheezing, or feel skin temperature. US is a clinical tool that can improve patient care by enhancing diagnostic accuracy and reducing cognitive biases. Integration of a seasoned clinicians intuition and judgment with an ultrasound enhanced physical exam is provides synergistic value. With training and practice, clinicians can use PEARLS to refine the craft of their examination skills, enhance their confidence and clinical acumen, and return the emphasis to the bedside.