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MP07: Office-based family physicians’ use of point of care ultrasound for early pregnancy complaints

  • C. Varner (a1), S.L. McLeod (a1), S. Hu (a1), E. Bearss (a1), A. Singwi (a1), S. Lee (a1) and B. Borgundvaag (a1)...

Abstract

Introduction: In Canada, family physicians (FPs) provide the majority of early pregnancy care. To receive a same day US, most patients will be sent to the emergency department (ED). FPs are starting to use point of care ultrasound (POCUS) for a variety of indications. The FaMOUS course was modeled after the Canadian Emergency Ultrasound Society (CEUS) ED Echo (EDE) curriculum and adapted with permission for FPs. The objective of this study was to assess the indications for POCUS use in early pregnancy and determine the diagnostic accuracy of POCUS performed by FPs following FaMOUS certification to detect intrauterine pregnancy (IUP) and fetal cardiac activity (FCA). Methods: This was a prospective, observational study conducted in 3 FP clinics from November 2015 to June 2016. Pregnant women <20 weeks gestational age who underwent a focused, transabdominal POCUS by a FaMOUS-certified FP using a handheld GE VScan were enrolled. FPs documented the presence or absence of IUP and FCA. The reference standard was radiologist-interpreted US performed after the FP POCUS. FPs were surveyed to assess provider confidence using POCUS and perceived impact on clinical decision-making. Results: Of 253 eligible patients, 56 (22.1%) underwent POCUS. Of these, 50 (89.3%) had a radiologist-interpreted US following the office-based FP visit. POCUS was used for the following indications: 11 (19.6%) had vaginal bleeding, 5 (8.9%) had abdominal pain, 7 (12.5%) had both vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain, and the indication for 33 (58.9%) patients was unclear. All patients had a documented IUP, resulting in a sensitivity of 94.0% (95% CI: 83.5%, 98.5%) and 100% positive predictive value. FCA resulted in sensitivity of 82.9% (95% CI: 69.2, 92.4%) and specificity of 100% (95% CI: 29.2%, 100.0%). When surveyed, 100% of FPs were confident performing POCUS and reported POCUS had an overall positive impact on clinical practice. 75% agreed the use of POCUS decreased the need for urgent radiologist-interpreted US. Conclusion: Following a certification process modeled after the CEUS EDE curriculum, FPs used POCUS for both CEUS-defined indications and indications that were unclear. FPs trained in early pregnancy POCUS demonstrated excellent diagnostic accuracy identifying IUP and FCA. Future study should assess the clinical impact of office-based POCUS, including whether its use results in decreased ED visits for this patient population.

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