CJEM. 2022 Dec 29. doi: 10.1007/s43678-022-00431-9. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Point-of-care ultrasonography (POCUS) is an established tool in the management of hypotensive patients in the emergency department (ED). We compared the diagnostic accuracy of a POCUS protocol versus standard assessment without POCUS in patients with undifferentiated hypotension.
METHODS: This was an international, multicenter randomized controlled trial included three EDs in North America and three in South Africa from September 2012 to December 2016. Hypotensive patients were randomized to early POCUS protocol plus standard care (POCUS group) or standard care without POCUS (control group). Initial and secondary diagnoses were recorded at 0 and 60 min. The main outcome was measures of diagnostic accuracy of a POCUS protocol in differentiating between cardiogenic and non-cardiogenic shock. Secondary outcomes were diagnostic performance for shock sub-types, as well as changes in perceived category of shock and overall diagnosis.
RESULTS: Follow-up was completed for 270 of 273 patients. For cardiogenic shock, the POCUS-based diagnostic approach (POCUS) performed similarly to the non-POCUS approach (control) for specificity [95.5% (89.9-98.5) vs.93.8% (87.7-97.5)]; positive likelihood ratio (17.92 vs 14.80); negative likelihood ratio (0.21 vs 0.09) and diagnostic odds ratio (85.6 vs 166.57), with a similar overall diagnostic accuracy between the two approaches [93.7% (88-97.2) vs 93.6% (87.8-97.2)]. Diagnostic performance measures were similar across sub-categories of shock.
CONCLUSION: This is the first randomized controlled trial to compare diagnostic performance of a POCUS protocol to standard care without POCUS in undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients. POCUS performed well diagnostically in undifferentiated hypotensive patients, especially as a rule-in test; however, performance did not differ meaningfully from standard assessment.