Assessment of emergency physician-performed ultrasound in evaluating nonspecific abdominal pain.
Am J Emerg Med. 2014 Jan 16;
Authors: Jang T, Chauhan V, Cundiff C, Kaji AH
STUDY OBJECTIVE: The objective of this pilot study was to lay the groundwork for future studies assessing the impact of emergency physician-performed ultrasound (EPUS) on diagnostic testing and decision making in emergency department (ED) patients with nonspecific abdominal pain (NSAP).
METHODS: This was a prospective, noninterventional study using a consecutive sample of patients presenting to the ED with NSAP as determined by nursing triage when a participating physician was available. Nonspecific abdominal pain was defined as abdominal pain for which the patient was seeking evaluation without a presumed diagnosis or referral for specific evaluation. Patients were evaluated by a physician who documented their differential diagnosis and planned diagnostic workup. Then, the physician performed EPUS, recorded their findings, and documented their post-EPUS differential diagnosis and planned diagnostic workup. This was compared with the patient's final diagnosis as determined by 2 emergency physicians blinded to the EPUS results.
RESULTS: A total of 128 patients were enrolled. Fifty-eight (45%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 36%-54%) had an improvement in diagnostic accuracy and planned diagnostic workup using EPUS. Sixty-four (50%; 95% CI, 41%-59%) would have been treated without further radiographic imaging. Fifty (39%; 95% CI, 31%-48%) would have been treated without any further laboratory testing or imaging.
DISCUSSION: Based on our findings, a future trial of 164 consecutive patients would have 90% power to confirm a 25% reduction in testing and a 25% improvement in decision making.
CONCLUSION: Emergency physician-performed ultrasound appears to positively impact decision making and diagnostic workup for patients presenting to the ED with NSAP and should be studied further.
PMID: 24529645 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]