Establishment of ultrasound as a diagnostic aid in the referral of patients with abdominal pain in an emergency department - a pilot study

Liv la Cour Poulsen, Emilie Stokholm Bækgaard, Per Grosen Istre, Thomas Andersen Schmidt, Torben Larsen

Abstract

PURPOSE: Ultrasonography is a noninvasive, cheap, and fast way of assessing abdominal pain in an emergency department. Many physicians working in emergency departments do not have pre-existing ultrasound experience. The purpose of this study was to investigate the ability of first-year internship doctors to perform a reliable ultrasound examination on patients with abdominal pain in an emergency setting.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study took place in an emergency department in Denmark. Following a 1-day ultrasound introduction course, three doctors without prior ultrasound experience scanned 45 patients during a 2-month period. The applicability of the examinations was evaluated by subsequent control examination: computed tomography, operation, or ultrasound by a trained radiologist or gynecologist or, in cases where the patient was immediately discharged, by ultrasound image evaluation.

RESULTS: In 14 out of 21 patients with a control examination, there was diagnostic agreement between the project ultrasound examination and the control. Image evaluation of all patients showed useful images of the gallbladder, kidneys, liver, abdominal aorta, and urinary bladder, but no useful images for either the pancreas or colon.

CONCLUSION: With only little formal training, it is possible for first-year internship doctors to correctly visualize some abdominal organs with ultrasonography. However, a longer study time frame, including more patients, and an ultrasound course specifically designed for the purpose of use in an emergency department, is needed to enhance the results.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftOpen Access Emergency Medicine
Vol/bind7
Sider (fra-til)11-5
Antal sider5
ISSN1179-1500
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2015
Udgivet eksterntJa

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