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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Point-of-care Ultrasound to Evaluate Breast Pathology in the Emergency Department

  • Author(s): Acuña, Josie;
  • Pierre, Cubby M.;
  • Sorenson, Jacob;
  • Adhikari, Srikar
  • et al.

Introduction: As physician-performed point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) becomes more prevalent in the evaluation of patients presenting with various complaints in the emergency department (ED), one application that is significantly less used is breast ultrasound. This study evaluates the utility of POCUS for the assessment of patients with breast complaints who present to the ED and the impact of POCUS on medical decision-making and patient management in the ED.

Methods: This was a retrospective review of ED patients presenting with breast symptoms who received a POCUS examination. An ED POCUS database was reviewed for breast POCUS examinations. We then reviewed electronic health records for demographic characteristics, history, physical examination findings, ED course, additional imaging studies, and impact of the POCUS study on patient care and disposition.

Results: We included a total of 40 subjects (36 females, 4 males) in the final analysis. Most common presenting symptoms were breast pain (57.5%) and a palpable mass (37.5%). “Cobblestoning,” ie, dense bumpy appearance, was the most common finding on breast POCUS, seen in 50% of the patients. Simple fluid collections were found in 37.5% of patients.

Conclusion: Our study findings illustrate the utility of POCUS in the evaluation of a varietyof breast complaints in the ED.

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