Analysis of What Effect Sonography has on Morbidity and Mortality in the Emergency Department

What question are you seeking to answer?
How does Point-of-care Ultrasound (POCUS) affect morbidity and mortality in the Emergency Department?

Why did you choose this topic?
I chose this topic because I wanted to learn more about ultrasound and its implications on patient outcomes in emergency situations. There’s lots of literature discussing its use in patients with specific diagnoses, but this is the first study discussing its impact on patient outcomes overall in undifferentiated patients.

How did you study this question?
We conducted a retrospective review and analyzed cases from M&M conferences at two major academic hospitals in which POCUS was likely to have made an impact on the case.

What did you learn through your research?
We’ve learned that there is great potential for POCUS to assist in patient outcomes in undifferentiated patients. Cardiac and lung POCUS exams were the most likely to have reduced M&M in patients. While POCUS may have contributed to M&M in some cases, it was likely to reduce M&M in more cases (12% vs 27%, respectively). A focus on POCUS training, specifically heart and lung ultrasound, may help improve patient outcomes in the ED.

Who stands to benefit from this research?
All patients in the emergency department who receive point-of-care ultrasound as part of their care stand to benefit. Additionally, EM residents who receive POCUS training and ultrasound fellows stand to gain a more focused training to improve patient outcomes.

What are the next steps in your research? 
This project was fairly broad and aimed to highlight the overall impact of POCUS on undifferentiated patients in the ED. Further analysis of the implications and impact of POCUS in the emergency department with a larger sample size will allow us to pinpoint clinical indications that may yield better patient outcomes and assist in creating training guidelines for POCUS in the ED to improve patient outcomes broadly.

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