Numerous studies emphasize the diagnostic importance of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS), but the level of evidence remains low as most data are gathered from observational studies. We conducted a pilot, randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of POCUS exam on medical patient's management and clinical outcomes. Patients presenting with chest pain or dyspnea were enrolled and randomly allocated to an early POCUS scan group and a control group. POCUS assessment, within 24 h of internal ward admission, was conducted only for the intervention group. The primary outcome was time to correct diagnosis. Secondary outcomes included time to appropriate treatment, POCUS-related rate of primary diagnosis alteration and new clinically relevant findings and time to hospital discharge. Sixty patients were enrolled. Thirty patients were randomly allocated to each study arm. The POCUS exam revealed clinically relevant findings among 79% of patients and led to alteration of the primary diagnosis among 28% of patients. Time to appropriate treatment was significantly shorter among patients in the POCUS group compared with the control group (median time of 5 h [95% confidence interval: 0.5–9] vs. 24 h [95% CI: 19–29] p = 0.014). The time needed to achieve correct diagnosis by the primary team was shorter in the POCUS group compared with the control group, yet it did not reach statistical significance (median time of 24 h [95% CI: 18–30] vs. 48 h [95% CI: 20–76], p = 0.12). These results indicate that POCUS assessment conducted early among patients with dyspnea or chest pain improves diagnostic accuracy and shortens significantly the time to appropriate treatment.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology|
|State||Published - 1 Aug 2020|
- Chest pain
- Clinical management
- Internal medicine
- Point-of-care ultrasound