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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ultrasound Hypotension Protocol Time-motion Study Using the Multifrequency Single Transducer Versus a Multiple Transducer Ultrasound Device


Introduction: Ultrasound hypotension protocols (UHP) involve imaging multiple body areas, each with different transducers and imaging presets. The time for task switching between presets and transducers to perform an UHP has not been previously studied. A novel hand-carried ultrasound (HCU) has been developed that uses a multifrequency single transducer to image areas of the body (lung, heart, abdomen, superficial) that would typically require three transducers using a traditional cart-based ultrasound (CBU) system. Our primary aim was to compare the time to complete UHPs with a single transducer HCU to a multiple transducer CBU.

Methods: We performed a randomized, crossover feasibility trial in the emergency department of an urban, safety-net hospital. This was a convenience sample of non-hypotensive emergency department patients presenting during a two-month period of time. Ultrasound hypotension protocols were performed by emergency physicians (EP) on patients using the HCU and the CBU. The EPs collected UHP views in sequential order using the most appropriate transducer and preset for the area/organ to be imaged. Time to complete each view, time for task switching, total time to complete the examination, and image diagnostic quality were recorded.

Results: A total of 29 patients were scanned by one of eight EPs. When comparing the HCU to the CBU, the median time to complete the UHP was 4.3 vs 8.5 minutes (P <0.0001), respectively.  When the transport and plugin times were excluded, the median times were 4.1 vs 5.8 minutes (P <0.0001), respectively. There was no difference in the diagnostic quality of images obtained by the two devices.

Conclusion: Ultrasound hypotension protocols were performed significantly faster using the single transducer HCU compared to a multiple transducer CBU with no difference in the number of images deemed to be diagnostic quality.

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