Introduction: Although ultrasound has been used in administering epidural anesthesia, it is unknown if emergency physicians (EPs) can obtain ultrasound images useful for lumbar puncture.
Objective: The objective of the study was to determine EPs' ability to apply a standardized ultrasound technique for visualizing landmarks surrounding the dural space.
Methods: Two EPs sought to identify relevant anatomy in emergency patients. Visualization time for 5 anatomical structures (spinous processes or laminae, ligamentum flavum, dura mater, epidural space, subarachnoid space), body mass index, and perception of landmark palpation difficulty were recorded.
Results: Seventy-six subjects were enrolled. Soft tissue and bony anatomical structures were identified in all subjects. Mean body mass index was 31.4 +/- 9.8 (95% confidence interval, 29.1-33.6). High-quality images were obtained in less than 1 minute in 153 (87.9%) scans and in less than 5 minutes in 174 (100%) scans. Mean acquisition time was 57.19 seconds; SD, 68.14 seconds; range, 10 to 300 seconds.
Conclusion: In this cohort, EPs were able to rapidly obtain high-quality ultrasound images relevant to lumbar puncture.