JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Dec 1;4(12):e2138228. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.38228.
IMPORTANCE: There are accumulating data about the utility of diagnostic multiorgan focused clinical ultrasonography (FCU) in the assessment of patients admitted with cardiopulmonary symptoms.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether adding multiorgan FCU to the initial clinical evaluation of patients admitted with cardiopulmonary symptoms reduces hospital length of stay, hospital readmissions, and in-hospital costs.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This is a prospective, parallel-group, superiority, randomized clinical trial with a 1:1 allocation ratio. The study was conducted at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, a tertiary public hospital located in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Adults aged 18 years or older admitted to the internal medicine ward with a cardiopulmonary diagnosis were enrolled between September 2018 and December 2019 and were followed up until hospital discharge. Data analysis was performed from August 2020 to January 2021.
INTERVENTIONS: The intervention involved an internal medicine physician-performed heart, lung, and 2-point vein compression FCU in addition to standard clinical evaluation.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was the difference in the mean length of hospital stay, defined as the number of hours from admission to the internal medicine ward to hospital discharge. A difference of 24 hours was defined as clinically important. Secondary outcomes included hospital readmissions at 30 days and hospital care costs.
RESULTS: A total of 250 participants were enrolled and 2 were excluded, leaving 248 participants (mean [SD] age, 80.1 [11.0] years; 121 women [48.7%]) in the final analysis. There were 124 patients in the intervention group and 124 patients in the control group. The most common initial diagnoses were acute decompensated heart failure (113 patients [45.5%]), pneumonia (45 patients [18.1%]), and exacerbated chronic pulmonary disease (32 patients [12.9%]). The length of hospital stay was 113.4 hours (95% CI, 91.7-135.1 hours) in the FCU group and 125.3 hours (95% CI, 101.7-148.8 hours) in the control group (P = .53). The 30-day readmission rate was not different between groups (FCU vs control, 20 of 124 patients [16.1%] vs 15 of 124 patients [12.0%]), nor were total in-hospital costs (FCU vs control, A$7831.1 [95% CI, A$5586.1-A$10 076.1] vs A$7895.7 [95% CI, A$6385.9-A$9.405.5]).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this randomized clinical trial, adult patients admitted to an internal medicine ward with a cardiopulmonary diagnosis, who underwent multiorgan FCU of the heart, lungs, and lower extremities veins during their initial clinical assessment, did not have a shorter hospital length of stay by more than 24 hours, compared with patients who received standard care.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Identifier: ACTRN12618001442291.