Liver: Pocket-sized ultrasound device reduces need for further testing

Graphic: Liver

Pocket-sized ultrasound device (PUD) use assists physicians in making more accurate diagnoses; © Sebastian Kaulitzki

Results from a study presented at The International Liver Congress 2015 demonstrate that the use of a pocket-sized ultrasound device (PUD) helps to reduce the need for further testing in both the inpatient and outpatient setting.

The study evaluated the effectiveness of the PUD when testing for the following conditions: biliary-duct dilation, gallstones, ascites, splenomegaly, pleural effusion, pericardial effusion, urinary retention, urinary stones, abdominal mass and aortic aneurysm.

PUDs offer a comparable performance to standard ultrasonography, however the accuracy of a physical examination is often poor meaning that further tests are required. This study assessed whether adding the use of PUD to physical examination could lead to a reduction in the rate of additional tests.

Of the 1,962 patients included in the study:

726 (37%) were inpatients, 510 (26%) were hepatology outpatients and 726 (37%) were recruited from GPs

Gallstones (37%), ascites - excessive accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity (17%), pleural effusion (13%), urinary stones (13%) and urinary retention (12%) accounted for more than 90% of the clinical questions, confirmed by PUD in 66% of cases

The overall frequency of further tests needed after PUD was 37%

The rate of agreement between findings of the PUD and additional tests was 89%

This study found that after basic training, the use of a PUD offers a simple and effective way to improve the accuracy of diagnosis and reduce the number of tests a patient needs.; Source: European Association for the Study of the Liver

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