Point-of-Care Ultrasound Could Streamline the Emergency Department Workflow of Clinically Nonspecific Intussusception

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2020 Feb;36(2):e90-e95. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001283.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) for intussusception screening streamlines the workflow of clinically nonspecific intussusception (CNI), an intussusception presenting with only 1 manifestation of the classic triad, and/or vomiting.

Methods: We reviewed 274 consecutive children with intussusception, aged 6 years or younger, who visited a tertiary care hospital emergency department between May 2012 and April 2016. This period was dichotomized by May 2014 (the "PRE" and "POST" groups), starting point of implementation of the POCUS protocol for intussusception screening. All children with CNI who had positive results on or forwent POCUS underwent radiologist-performed ultrasound (US). We measured and compared emergency department length of stay (EDLOS), the sum of door-to-reduction and observation times, and the frequency of POCUS and positive US results between the 2 groups.

Results: Of 160 children with CNI, 93 visited the emergency department since May 2014. The POST group showed a shorter median EDLOS (856 vs 630 minutes, P < 0.001), door-to-reduction time (137 vs 111 minutes, P = 0.002), and observation time (700 vs 532 minutes, P < 0.001). The POST group had a higher frequency of POCUS (12% vs 60%, P < 0.001) with positive US results (33% vs 59%, P < 0.001). The PRE group had a higher frequency of severe bowel edema (16% vs 1%, P < 0.001). No significant differences were found in the severity, recurrence, admission, and surgery. One child had a false-negative result on POCUS.

Conclusions: Point-of-care ultrasound could streamline the workflow of CNI via decrease in EDLOS and unnecessary referrals for US.