Background: New portable ultrasound (US) systems are capable of detecting fractures in the remote setting. However, the accuracy of ultrasound by physicians with minimal ultrasound training is unknown.
Methods: After one hour of standardized training, physicians with minimal US experience clinically evaluated patients presenting with pain and trauma to the upper arm or leg. The investigators then performed a long-bone US evaluation, recording their impression of fracture presence or absence. Results of the examination were compared with routine plain or computer aided radiography (CT).
Results: 58 patients were examined. The sensitivity and specificity of US were 92.9% and 83.3%, and of the physical examination were 78.6% and 90.0%, respectively. US provided improved sensitivity with less specificity compared with physical examination in the detection of fractures in long bones.
Conclusion: Ultrasound scans by minimally trained clinicians may be used to rule out a long-bone fracture in patients with a medium to low probability of fracture.