Objective: To evaluate a 4-hour ultrasonography course in the setting of an emergency medicine (EM) training program.
Methods: EM residents and faculty at a large urban center were provided a 4-hour emergency ultrasonography course. Then, during an 18-month period, a nonconsecutive sample of ultrasonographic examinations were videotaped and later reviewed. The interpretations of the emergency, physician examinations were compared with the following reference standards: 1) an official ultrasound performed and interpreted by the departments of radiology or cardiology; 2) an operative report; 3) A CT scan or i.v. pyelogram (IVP); or 4) a cardiologist's or a radiologist's interpretation of the videotaped examinations.
Results: Of 258 examinations reviewed, 28 (11%) of these were excluded because the cardiologist or radiologist reviewing the videotape determined them to be "technically limited" studies. Of the remaining 230 examinations, there were: 127 gallbladder studies [disease prevalence = 0.58; sensitivity = 0.89; specificity = 0.80; kappa (kappa) = 0.69; 95% CI: 56-82%]; 39 echocardiograms to rule out pericardial effusions [disease prevalence = 0.15; sensitivity = 0.83; specificity = 0.97 kappa = 0.80; 95% CI: 54-100%]; 25 abdominal ultrasounds to rule out free peritoneal fluid [disease prevalence = 0.32; sensitivity = 0.88; specificity = 0.94; kappa = 0.81; 95% CI: 26-95%]; 16 renal ultrasounds to rule out hydronephrosis [disease prevalence = 0.25; sensitivity = 1.0; specificity = 0.92; kappa = 0.84; 95% CI: 56-100%]; 12 pelvic ultrasounds to rule in an intrauterine pregnancy [disease prevalence = 0.67; sensitivity = 1.0; specificity = 0.75; kappa = 0.80; 95% CI: 43-100%]; and 11 abdominal ultrasounds to rule out abdominal aortic aneurysms [disease prevalence = 0.09; sensitivity = 1.0; 95% CI: 2.5-91%; specificity = 1.0; 95% CI: 68-100%].
Conclusions: This 4-hour ultrasonography course has potential to serve as a foundation for an instructional model for ultrasonography training in the setting of an EM residency program.