Pocket Ultrasound Helps Increase Resident Efficiency

April 13, 2015

Cardiac and abdominal imaging performed by residents using a pocket-size ultrasound increases diagnostic accuracy.

Point-of-care examinations with pocket-size imaging devices increase diagnostic accuracy and capability of medical residents, according to a study published in the Journal of Ultrasound.

Researchers from Norway investigated the potential benefits of on-call medical residents using pocket-sized imaging devices for goal-directed ultrasound examinations.

The study reviewed 199 patients admitted to a medical department, who were randomized to undergo imaging with a pocket-sized cardiac and abdominal ultrasound examination or standard care by a medical resident with limited ultrasound experience.

Cardiac examination included estimation of right and left ventricular sizes and global systolic function and regional left ventricular systolic function, evaluation for pleural and pericardial effusion, and valvular disease, and abdominal examination looked for signs of gross abnormalities of the liver, gallbladder, abdominal aorta, inferior vena cava, and urinary system.

The results showed that cardiac examination with the pocket device took a median of 5.7 minutes, and abdominal examination a median of 4.7 minutes. Thirteen patients (6.5%) had a major change in primary diagnosis, while 21 patients (10.5%) saw their diagnosis verified. Forty-eight patients (24.0%) were given an additional important diagnosis.

The researchers concluded that using the pocket-sized ultrasound devices cut time for examination, and allowed for correction or addition of important diagnosis.