Point-of-care ultrasound for the detection of hydronephrosis in emergency department patients with suspected renal colic.
Ultrasound J. 2020 Jun 08;12(1):31
Authors: Sibley S, Roth N, Scott C, Rang L, White H, Sivilotti MLA, Bruder E
BACKGROUND: Point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) by emergency physicians for renal colic has been proposed as an alternative to computed tomography (CT) to avoid ionizing radiation exposure and shorten emergency department length of stay. Previous studies have employed experienced or credentialed ultrasonographers or required advanced ultrasound skills. We sought to measure the diagnostic accuracy of PoCUS by physicians with varied experience using a simplified binary outcome of presence or absence of hydronephrosis. Secondary outcomes include assessment as to whether the presence of hydronephrosis on PoCUS is predictive of complications, and to evaluate possible causes for the reduced diagnostic accuracy such as body mass index (BMI) and time between PoCUS and formal imaging, and scanner experience.
RESULTS: 413 patients were enrolled in the study. PoCUS showed a specificity of 71.8% [95% CI 65.0, 77.9] and sensitivity of 77.1% [95% CI 70.9, 82.6]. Hydronephrosis on PoCUS was predictive of complications (relative risk 3.13; [95% CI 1.30, 7.53]). The time interval between PoCUS and formal imaging, BMI, and scanner experience did not influence the accuracy of PoCUS.
CONCLUSIONS: PoCUS for hydronephrosis in suspected renal colic has moderate accuracy when performed by providers with varied experience for the binary outcome of presence or absence of hydronephrosis. Hydronephrosis on PoCUS is associated with increased rates of complications. PoCUS for hydronephrosis is limited in its utility as a stand-alone test, however this inexpensive, readily available test may be useful in conjunction with clinical course to determine which patients would benefit from formal imaging or urologic consultation. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01323842.
PMID: 32507905 [PubMed]