Prognostic Implications of a Point-of-Care Ultrasound Examination on Hospital Ward Admission

J Ultrasound Med. 2020 Feb;39(2):289-297. doi: 10.1002/jum.15102. Epub 2019 Aug 4.


Objectives: Few data exist regarding the use of ultrasound (US) to risk stratify ward admissions. Therefore, we evaluated associations between a cardiopulmonary limited ultrasound examination (CLUE) on admission and subsequent hospital outcomes.

Methods: Over a 22-month period in a 300-bed hospital, CLUE data reviewed from a series of nonelective ward admissions were correlated with the composite outcome of a hospital stay of longer than 2 days, disposition to hospice, or death. The CLUE included 5 quick-look signs of left ventricular dysfunction, left atrial enlargement, lung B-lines, pleural effusions, and inferior vena cava plethora and had been performed as warranted by 1 of 31 US-trained admitting residents and then repeated by a cardiologist as the reference standard. The admitting condition, medical history, results of routine admission testing, and CLUE were assessed for an association with the outcome in univariate and multivariable models.

Results: Of 547 patients, the mean age ± SD was 62.9 ± 15.5 years; 59% were male; and the mean stay was 5.6 ± 8.1 days, with 355 (65%) lasting longer than 2 days and 21 (4%) having hospice disposition or death. An abnormal CLUE exam was found in 368 (67%) of patients, was related to the outcome (odds ratio [OR], 1.86; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.23-2.68; P = .001) when obtained by a resident or cardiologist, and was included in a best-fit multivariable model with renal failure (OR, 2.44; 95% CI, 1.44-4.14; P < .001), infection/sepsis (OR, 2.25; 95% CI, 1.17-4.32; P = .02), and chest pain (OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.21-0.61; P < .001).

Conclusions: An abnormal admission point of care ultrasound exam was related to complex hospitalization, specifically a longer length of stay.

Keywords: cardiac ultrasound; cardiopulmonary limited ultrasound examination; hospital medicine; internal medicine; length of stay; point-of-care ultrasound; prognosis; pulmonary ultrasound; residency training; ultrasound training.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment