Prevalence and utility of point-of-care ultrasound in the emergency department: A prospective observational study

Pourya Pouryahya, Alastair D. McR Meyer, Melody Koo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: An observational study on the current diagnostic and procedural utility, as well as impact of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in the emergency department (ED). Background: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) has been recognised as a useful non-invasive bedside tool in providing valuable information, as well as its utility in procedural guidance for clinicians. However, its current prevalence and utility in ED remain unknown. Methods: In October 2016, a 31-day prospective observational study was performed in three Monash Health Emergency Departments in Melbourne, Australia. Data regarding patients’ presenting complaints, frequency, operators’ qualifications and POCUS module were collected and analysed. Factors associated with diagnostic impacts were identified. Results: A total of 390 (2.1%) POCUS examinations were performed among 18,355 presentations in the three Monash Health EDs during the study period. POCUS was performed as a diagnostic tool in 344 (88.2%) and procedural guidance in 46 (11.8%) cases. eFAST/AAA and bedside echocardiography were the two most frequently utilised diagnostic modules. Overall, the majority of diagnostic POCUS cases were indicated for abdominal pain (35.3%), chest pain (14.0%) and trauma mainly traffic accidents (5.8%). Procedural POCUS was most commonly used for vascular access (71.7%), where dyspnoea (21.6%) was the most common presenting complaint. The majority of the cases were performed by FACEMs (Fellows of Australasian College of Emergency Medicine) (66.4%). Conclusions: Despite known diagnostic and procedural values, the prevalence of POCUS in ED was found to be lower than what was expected. The prevalence was shown to be proportional to the level of clinical expertise among the operators. Training and utility of POCUS among physicians and trainees should be further advocated and supported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-278
Number of pages6
JournalAustralasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • emergency
  • emergency medicine
  • point-of-care ultrasound
  • ultrasound

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