Background Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) is an efficient, inexpensive, safe, and portable imaging modality that can be particularly useful in resource-limited settings. However, its impact on clinical decision making in such settings has not been well studied. The objective of this study is to describe the utilization and impact of PoCUS on clinical decision making at an urban emergency department in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Methods This was a prospective descriptive cross-sectional study of patients receiving PoCUS at Muhimbili National Hospital’s Emergency Medical Department (MNH EMD). Data on PoCUS studies during a period of 10 months at MNH EMD was collected on consecutive patients during periods when research assistants were available. Data collected included patient age and sex, indications for ultrasound, findings, interpretations, and provider-reported diagnostic impression and disposition plan before and after PoCUS. Descriptive statistics, including medians and interquartile ranges, and counts and percentages, are reported. Pearson chi squared tests and p-values were used to evaluate categorical data for significant differences. Results PoCUS data was collected for 986 studies performed on 784 patients. Median patient age was 32 years; 56% of patients were male. Top indications for PoCUS included trauma, respiratory presentations, and abdomino-pelvic pain. The most frequent study types performed were eFAST, cardiac, and obstetric or gynaecologic studies. Overall, clinicians reported that the use of PoCUS changed either diagnostic impression or disposition plan in 29% of all cases. Rates of change in diagnostic impression or disposition plan increased to 45% in patients for whom more than one PoCUS study type was performed. Conclusions In resource-limited emergency care settings, PoCUS can be utilized for a wide range of indications and has substantial impact on clinical decision making, especially when more than one study type is performed.
Reynolds, T. A., Amato, S., Kulola, I., Jeffrey Chen, C. J., Mfinanga, J., & Sawe, H. R. (2018). Impact of point-of-care ultrasound on clinical decision-making at an urban emergency department in Tanzania. PLoS ONE, 13(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194774