Ultrasound Med Biol. 2021 Nov 2:S0301-5629(21)00409-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2021.09.013. Online ahead of print.
The aim in this systematic review was to determine the effect of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) on the clinical decision-making process and patient outcomes in adults admitted to the general medicine ward. A comprehensive search was performed in MEDLINE (Ovid), EMBASE (Ovid), PubMed, the Cochrane Library, ClinicalTrials.gov, Scopus, LILACS and Cinahl. Articles had to fulfill the inclusion criteria of randomised or non-randomised studies assessing the impact of POCUS on the diagnosis, management, length of hospital stay or mortality of patients admitted to the internal medicine ward. Six studies were included involving a total of 1836 patients. The influence of POCUS on the diagnosis was reported as a change in the main diagnosis or the addition of a relevant diagnosis in up to 18% and 24% of the cases, respectively. Impact on the management plan was reported in 37% to 52.1% of the participants. Three studies documented the impact of POCUS on the length of stay. Two of them reported no difference between groups, and the other reported a significant reduction of 1 d of the hospital stay. In conclusion, POCUS appears to have positive effects on the clinical decision-making process with impacts on optimal patient management and possible reduction in the hospital length of stay.