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The low-frequency linearly polarised radio source population is largely unexplored. However, a renaissance in low-frequency polarimetry has been enabled by pathfinder and precursor instruments for the Square Kilometre Array. In this second paper from the POlarised GaLactic and Extragalactic All-Sky MWA Survey-the POlarised GLEAM Survey, or POGS-we present the results from our all-sky MWA Phase I Faraday Rotation Measure survey. Our survey covers nearly the entire Southern sky in the Declination range
at a resolution between around three and seven arcminutes (depending on Declination) using data in the frequency range 169−231 MHz. We have performed two targeted searches: the first covering 25 489 square degrees of sky, searching for extragalactic polarised sources; the second covering the entire sky South of Declination
, searching for known pulsars. We detect a total of 517 sources with 200 MHz linearly polarised flux densities between 9.9 mJy and 1.7 Jy, of which 33 are known radio pulsars. All sources in our catalogues have Faraday rotation measures in the range
rad m−2. The Faraday rotation measures are broadly consistent with results from higher-frequency surveys, but with typically more than an order of magnitude improvement in the precision, highlighting the power of low-frequency polarisation surveys to accurately study Galactic and extragalactic magnetic fields. We discuss the properties of our extragalactic and known-pulsar source population, how the sky distribution relates to Galactic features, and identify a handful of new pulsar candidates among our nominally extragalactic source population.
Victimization in childhood may be associated with adult psychosis. This association was examined cross-sectional and longitudinal in the crucial developmental period of early adolescence.
Data were derived from standard health screenings of the Youth Health Care Divisions of the Municipal Health Services in Maastricht, the Netherlands. A self-report questionnaire was filled out by a total of 1290 adolescents to assess non-clinical psychotic experiences, as well as experiences of being bullied, sexual trauma and life events.
The cross-sectional study showed that unwanted sexual experiences and being bullied were strongly and independently associated with psychotic experiences. In the same sample, it was shown that sexual trauma increased the risk for psychotic symptoms two years later. Life events contributed to the risk for psychosis over time and psychosis in turn gave rise to new life events. No significant association with bullying was found after controlling for confounders.
These results suggest that reported associations between childhood victimization and adult psychosis can be understood in a developmental framework of onset of at-risk mental states in early adolescence. Early and later psychological stress, if severe, may impact on the risk for psychosis in adolescence trough mechanisms of person-environment interaction and correlation.
Increasing epidemiological evidence suggests that environmental stressors such as trauma and life events are associated with the development of psychosis. The underlying mechanism however remains unclear. Previous studies of our group have demonstrated that increased sensitivity to daily life stress is part of the underlying vulnerability for psychosis. It is therefore attractive to hypothesize that early trauma increases the risk for psychosis through sensitizing people for the small stresses of daily life. This hypothesis has been investigated in three different data sets (both general-population and clinical samples) using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM; a structured diary technique) to assess stress-reactivity in daily life defined as emotional and psychotic reactivity to stress. The results suggest that a history of childhood trauma sensitizes people to the stresses of normal life resulting in stronger emotional and psychotic reactions to stress. However, this sensitization process is most pronounced in subjects with an increased vulnerability for psychosis.
The aim of the current study was to replicate findings in adults indicating that higher sensitivity to stressful events is predictive of both onset and persistence of psychopathological symptoms in a sample of adolescents and young adults. In addition, we tested the hypothesis that sensitivity to mild stressors in particular is predictive of the developmental course of psychopathology.
We analyzed experience sampling and questionnaire data collected at baseline and one-year follow-up of 445 adolescent and young adult twins and non-twin siblings (age range: 15–34). Linear multilevel regression was used for the replication analyses. To test if affective sensitivity to mild stressors in particular was associated with follow-up symptoms, we used a categorical approach adding variables on affective sensitivity to mild, moderate and severe daily stressors to the model.
Linear analyses showed that emotional stress reactivity was not associated with onset (ß = .02; P = .56) or persistence (ß = -.01; P = .78) of symptoms. There was a significant effect of baseline symptom score (ß = .53; P < .001) and average negative affect (NA: ß = .19; P < .001) on follow-up symptoms. Using the categorical approach, we found that affective sensitivity to mild (ß = .25; P < .001), but not moderate (ß = -.03; P = .65) or severe (ß = -.06; P = .42), stressors was associated with symptom persistence one year later.
We were unable to replicate previous findings relating stress sensitivity linearly to symptom onset or persistence in a younger sample. Whereas sensitivity to more severe stressors may reflect adaptive coping, high sensitivity to the mildest of daily stressors may indicate an increased risk for psychopathology.
Daily use of high-potency cannabis has been reported to carry a high risk for developing a psychotic disorder. However, the evidence is mixed on whether any pattern of cannabis use is associated with a particular symptomatology in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients.
We analysed data from 901 FEP patients and 1235 controls recruited across six countries, as part of the European Network of National Schizophrenia Networks Studying Gene-Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. We used item response modelling to estimate two bifactor models, which included general and specific dimensions of psychotic symptoms in patients and psychotic experiences in controls. The associations between these dimensions and cannabis use were evaluated using linear mixed-effects models analyses.
In patients, there was a linear relationship between the positive symptom dimension and the extent of lifetime exposure to cannabis, with daily users of high-potency cannabis having the highest score (B = 0.35; 95% CI 0.14–0.56). Moreover, negative symptoms were more common among patients who never used cannabis compared with those with any pattern of use (B = −0.22; 95% CI −0.37 to −0.07). In controls, psychotic experiences were associated with current use of cannabis but not with the extent of lifetime use. Neither patients nor controls presented differences in depressive dimension related to cannabis use.
Our findings provide the first large-scale evidence that FEP patients with a history of daily use of high-potency cannabis present with more positive and less negative symptoms, compared with those who never used cannabis or used low-potency types.
To examine the factors that are associated with changes in depression in people with type 2 diabetes living in 12 different countries.
People with type 2 diabetes treated in out-patient settings aged 18–65 years underwent a psychiatric assessment to diagnose major depressive disorder (MDD) at baseline and follow-up. At both time points, participants completed the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), the WHO five-item Well-being scale (WHO-5) and the Problem Areas in Diabetes (PAID) scale which measures diabetes-related distress. A composite stress score (CSS) (the occurrence of stressful life events and their reported degree of ‘upset’) between baseline and follow-up was calculated. Demographic data and medical record information were collected. Separate regression analyses were conducted with MDD and PHQ-9 scores as the dependent variables.
In total, there were 7.4% (120) incident cases of MDD with 81.5% (1317) continuing to remain free of a diagnosis of MDD. Univariate analyses demonstrated that those with MDD were more likely to be female, less likely to be physically active, more likely to have diabetes complications at baseline and have higher CSS. Mean scores for the WHO-5, PAID and PHQ-9 were poorer in those with incident MDD compared with those who had never had a diagnosis of MDD. Regression analyses demonstrated that higher PHQ-9, lower WHO-5 scores and greater CSS were significant predictors of incident MDD. Significant predictors of PHQ-9 were baseline PHQ-9 score, WHO-5, PAID and CSS.
This study demonstrates the importance of psychosocial factors in addition to physiological variables in the development of depressive symptoms and incident MDD in people with type 2 diabetes. Stressful life events, depressive symptoms and diabetes-related distress all play a significant role which has implications for practice. A more holistic approach to care, which recognises the interplay of these psychosocial factors, may help to mitigate their impact on diabetes self-management as well as MDD, thus early screening and treatment for symptoms is recommended.
Postoperative cognitive impairment is among the most common medical complications associated with surgical interventions – particularly in elderly patients. In our aging society, it is an urgent medical need to determine preoperative individual risk prediction to allow more accurate cost–benefit decisions prior to elective surgeries. So far, risk prediction is mainly based on clinical parameters. However, these parameters only give a rough estimate of the individual risk. At present, there are no molecular or neuroimaging biomarkers available to improve risk prediction and little is known about the etiology and pathophysiology of this clinical condition. In this short review, we summarize the current state of knowledge and briefly present the recently started BioCog project (Biomarker Development for Postoperative Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly), which is funded by the European Union. It is the goal of this research and development (R&D) project, which involves academic and industry partners throughout Europe, to deliver a multivariate algorithm based on clinical assessments as well as molecular and neuroimaging biomarkers to overcome the currently unsatisfying situation.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
The transition period is the most critical period in the lactation cycle of dairy cows. Extended lactations reduce the frequency of transition periods, the number of calves and the related labour for farmers. This study aimed to assess the impact of 2 and 4 months extended lactations on milk yield and net partial cash flow (NPCF) at herd level, and on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of fat- and protein-corrected milk (FPCM), using a stochastic simulation model. The model simulated individual lactations for 100 herds of 100 cows with a baseline lactation length (BL), and for 100 herds with lactations extended by 2 or 4 months for all cows (All+2 and All+4), or for heifers only (H+2 and H+4). Baseline lactation length herds produced 887 t (SD: 13) milk/year. The NPCF, based on revenues for milk, surplus calves and culled cows, and costs for feed, artificial insemination, calving management and rearing of youngstock, was k€174 (SD: 4)/BL herd per year. Extended lactations reduced milk yield of the herd by 4.1% for All+2, 6.9% for All+4, 1.1% for H+2 and 2.2% for H+4, and reduced the NPCF per herd per year by k€7 for All+2, k€12 for All+4, k€2 for H+2 and k€4 for H+4 compared with BL herds. Extended lactations increased GHG emissions in CO2-equivalents per t FPCM by 1.0% for All+2, by 1.7% for All+4, by 0.2% for H+2 and by 0.4% for H+4, but this could be compensated by an increase in lifespan of dairy cows. Subsequently, production level and lactation persistency were increased to assess the importance of these aspects for the impact of extended lactations. The increase in production level and lactation persistency increased milk production of BL herds by 30%. Moreover, reductions in milk yield for All+2 and All+4 compared with BL herds were only 0.7% and 1.1% per year, and milk yield in H+2 and H+4 herds was similar to BL herds. The resulting NPCF was equal to BL for All+2 and All+4 and increased by k€1 for H+2 and H+4 due to lower costs for insemination and calving management. Moreover, GHG emissions per t FPCM were equal to BL herds or reduced (0% to −0.3%) when lactations were extended. We concluded that, depending on lactation persistency, extending lactations of dairy cows can have a positive or negative impact on the NPCF and GHG emissions of milk production.
We report on reliability testing of vertical GaN (v-GaN) devices under continuous switching conditions of 500, 750, and 1000 V. Using a modified double-pulse test circuit, we evaluate 1200 V-rated v-GaN PiN diodes fabricated by Avogy. Forward current–voltage characteristics do not change over the stress period. Under the reverse bias, the devices exhibit an initial rise in leakage current, followed by a slower rate of increase with further stress. The leakage recovers after a day's relaxation which suggests that trapping of carriers in deep states is responsible. Overall, we found the devices to be robust over the range of conditions tested.
Measurements in the infrared wavelength domain allow direct assessment of the physical state and energy balance of cool matter in space, enabling the detailed study of the processes that govern the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems in galaxies over cosmic time. Previous infrared missions revealed a great deal about the obscured Universe, but were hampered by limited sensitivity.
SPICA takes the next step in infrared observational capability by combining a large 2.5-meter diameter telescope, cooled to below 8 K, with instruments employing ultra-sensitive detectors. A combination of passive cooling and mechanical coolers will be used to cool both the telescope and the instruments. With mechanical coolers the mission lifetime is not limited by the supply of cryogen. With the combination of low telescope background and instruments with state-of-the-art detectors SPICA provides a huge advance on the capabilities of previous missions.
SPICA instruments offer spectral resolving power ranging from R ~50 through 11 000 in the 17–230 μm domain and R ~28.000 spectroscopy between 12 and 18 μm. SPICA will provide efficient 30–37 μm broad band mapping, and small field spectroscopic and polarimetric imaging at 100, 200 and 350 μm. SPICA will provide infrared spectroscopy with an unprecedented sensitivity of ~5 × 10−20 W m−2 (5σ/1 h)—over two orders of magnitude improvement over what earlier missions. This exceptional performance leap, will open entirely new domains in infrared astronomy; galaxy evolution and metal production over cosmic time, dust formation and evolution from very early epochs onwards, the formation history of planetary systems.
The chemistry within the outflow of an AGB star is determined by its elemental C/O abundance ratio. Thanks to the advent of high angular resolution observations, it is clear that most outflows do not have a smooth density distribution, but are inhomogeneous or “clumpy”. We have developed a chemical model that takes into account the effect of a clumpy outflow on its gas-phase chemistry by using a theoretical porosity formalism. The clumpiness of the model increases the inner wind abundances of all so-called unexpected species, i.e. species that are not predicted to be present assuming an initial thermodynamic equilibrium chemistry. By applying the model to the distribution of cyanopolyynes and hydrocarbon radicals within the outflow of IRC+10216, we find that the chemistry traces the underlying density distribution.
Exercise and physical training are known to affect gastrointestinal function and digestibility in horses and can lead to inaccurate estimates of nutrient and energy digestibility when markers are used. The effect of exercise on apparent nutrient digestibility and faecal recoveries of ADL and TiO2 was studied in six Welsh pony geldings subjected to either a low- (LI) or high-intensity (HI) exercise regime according to a cross-over design. Ponies performing LI exercise were walked once per day for 45 min in a horse walker (5 km/h) for 47 consecutive days. Ponies submitted to HI exercise were gradually trained for the same 47 days according a standardized protocol. Throughout the experiment, the ponies received a fixed level of feed and the daily rations consisted of 4.7 kg DM of grass hay and 0.95 kg DM of concentrate. The diet was supplemented with minerals, vitamins and TiO2 (3.0 g Ti/day). Total tract digestibility of DM, organic matter (OM), CP, crude fat, NDF, ADF, starch, sugar and energy was determined with the total faeces collection (TFC) method. In addition, DM and OM digestibility was estimated using internal ADL and the externally supplemented Ti as markers. Urine was collected on the final 2 days of each experimental period. Exercise did not affect apparent digestibility of CP, crude fat, starch and sugar. Digestibility of DM (DMD), OM (OMD), ADF and NDF tended to be lower and DE was decreased when ponies received the HI exercise regime. For all treatments combined, mean faecal recoveries of ADL and Ti were 87.8±1.7% and 99.3±1.7%, respectively. Ti was not detected in the urine, indicating that intestinal integrity was maintained with exercise. Dry matter digestibility estimated with the TFC, ADL and Ti for ponies subjected to LI exercise were 66.3%, 60.3% and 64.8%, respectively, while DMD for HI ponies were 64.2%, 60.3% and 65.2%, respectively. In conclusion, physical exercise has an influence on the GE digestibility of the feed in ponies provided with equivalent levels of feed intake. In addition, the two markers used for estimating apparent DMD and OMD indicate that externally supplemented Ti is a suitable marker to determine digestibility of nutrients in horses performing exercise unlike dietary ADL.
Schizophrenia (SZ) is a severe neuropsychiatric disorder associated with disrupted connectivity within the thalamic-cortico-cerebellar network. Resting-state functional connectivity studies have reported thalamic hypoconnectivity with the cerebellum and prefrontal cortex as well as thalamic hyperconnectivity with sensory cortical regions in SZ patients compared with healthy comparison participants (HCs). However, fundamental questions remain regarding the clinical significance of these connectivity abnormalities.
Resting state seed-based functional connectivity was used to investigate thalamus to whole brain connectivity using multi-site data including 183 SZ patients and 178 matched HCs. Statistical significance was based on a voxel-level FWE-corrected height threshold of p < 0.001. The relationships between positive and negative symptoms of SZ and regions of the brain demonstrating group differences in thalamic connectivity were examined.
HC and SZ participants both demonstrated widespread positive connectivity between the thalamus and cortical regions. Compared with HCs, SZ patients had reduced thalamic connectivity with bilateral cerebellum and anterior cingulate cortex. In contrast, SZ patients had greater thalamic connectivity with multiple sensory-motor regions, including bilateral pre- and post-central gyrus, middle/inferior occipital gyrus, and middle/superior temporal gyrus. Thalamus to middle temporal gyrus connectivity was positively correlated with hallucinations and delusions, while thalamus to cerebellar connectivity was negatively correlated with delusions and bizarre behavior.
Thalamic hyperconnectivity with sensory regions and hypoconnectivity with cerebellar regions in combination with their relationship to clinical features of SZ suggest that thalamic dysconnectivity may be a core neurobiological feature of SZ that underpins positive symptoms.
A range of endophenotypes characterise psychosis, however there has been limited work understanding if and how they are inter-related.
This multi-centre study includes 8754 participants: 2212 people with a psychotic disorder, 1487 unaffected relatives of probands, and 5055 healthy controls. We investigated cognition [digit span (N = 3127), block design (N = 5491), and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (N = 3543)], electrophysiology [P300 amplitude and latency (N = 1102)], and neuroanatomy [lateral ventricular volume (N = 1721)]. We used linear regression to assess the interrelationships between endophenotypes.
The P300 amplitude and latency were not associated (regression coef. −0.06, 95% CI −0.12 to 0.01, p = 0.060), and P300 amplitude was positively associated with block design (coef. 0.19, 95% CI 0.10–0.28, p < 0.001). There was no evidence of associations between lateral ventricular volume and the other measures (all p > 0.38). All the cognitive endophenotypes were associated with each other in the expected directions (all p < 0.001). Lastly, the relationships between pairs of endophenotypes were consistent in all three participant groups, differing for some of the cognitive pairings only in the strengths of the relationships.
The P300 amplitude and latency are independent endophenotypes; the former indexing spatial visualisation and working memory, and the latter is hypothesised to index basic processing speed. Individuals with psychotic illnesses, their unaffected relatives, and healthy controls all show similar patterns of associations between endophenotypes, endorsing the theory of a continuum of psychosis liability across the population.
The Square Kilometre Array will be an amazing instrument for pulsar astronomy. While the full SKA will be sensitive enough to detect all pulsars in the Galaxy visible from Earth, already with SKA1, pulsar searches will discover enough pulsars to increase the currently known population by a factor of four, no doubt including a range of amazing unknown sources. Real time processing is needed to deal with the 60 PB of pulsar search data collected per day, using a signal processing pipeline required to perform more than 10 POps. Here we present the suggested design of the pulsar search engine for the SKA and discuss challenges and solutions to the pulsar search venture.
Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) is an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the emergency department (ED). While PoCUS protocols have been shown to improve early diagnostic accuracy, there is little published evidence for any mortality benefit. We report the findings from our international multicenter randomized controlled trial, assessing the impact of a PoCUS protocol on survival and key clinical outcomes. Methods: Recruitment occurred at 7 centres in North America (4) and South Africa (3). Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 or shock index>1), randomized to PoCUS or control (standard care and no PoCUS) groups. Demographics, clinical details and study findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes, with ultrasound performed in the PoCUS group prior to secondary assessment. The primary outcome measure was 30-day/discharge mortality. Secondary outcome measures included diagnostic accuracy, changes in vital signs, acid-base status, and length of stay. Categorical data was analyzed using Fishers test, and continuous data by Student T test and multi-level log-regression testing. (GraphPad/SPSS) Final chart review was blinded to initial impressions and PoCUS findings. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. There was no difference between groups for the primary outcome of mortality; PoCUS 32/129 (24.8%; 95% CI 14.3-35.3%) vs. Control 32/129 (24.8%; 95% CI 14.3-35.3%); RR 1.00 (95% CI 0.869 to 1.15; p=1.00). There were no differences in the secondary outcomes; ICU and total length of stay. Our sample size has a power of 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Other secondary outcomes are reported separately. Conclusion: This is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients. We did not find any mortality or length of stay benefits with the use of a PoCUS protocol, though a larger study is required to confirm these findings. While PoCUS may have diagnostic benefits, these may not translate into a survival benefit effect.
Introduction: Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) protocols are commonly used to guide resuscitation for emergency department (ED) patients with undifferentiated non-traumatic hypotension. While PoCUS has been shown to improve early diagnosis, there is a minimal evidence for any outcome benefit. We completed an international multicenter randomized controlled trial (RCT) to assess the impact of a PoCUS protocol on key resuscitation markers in this group. We report diagnostic impact and mortality elsewhere. Methods: The SHoC-ED1 study compared the addition of PoCUS to standard care within the first hour in the treatment of adult patients presenting with undifferentiated hypotension (SBP<100 mmHg or a Shock Index >1.0) with a control group that did not receive PoCUS. Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. 4 North American, and 3 South African sites participated in the study. Resuscitation outcomes analyzed included volume of fluid administered in the ED, changes in shock index (SI), modified early warning score (MEWS), venous acid-base balance, and lactate, at one and four hours. Comparisons utilized a T-test as well as stratified binomial log-regression to assess for any significant improvement in resuscitation amount the outcomes. Our sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. There was no significant difference in mean total volume of fluid received between the control (1658 ml; 95%CI 1365-1950) and PoCUS groups (1609 ml; 1385-1832; p=0.79). Significant improvements were seen in SI, MEWS, lactate and bicarbonate with resuscitation in both the PoCUS and control groups, however there was no difference between groups. Conclusion: SHOC-ED1 is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard of care in hypotensive ED patients. No significant difference in fluid used, or markers of resuscitation was found when comparing the use of a PoCUS protocol to that of standard of care in the resuscitation of patients with undifferentiated hypotension.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasonography (PoCUS) is an established tool in the initial management of hypotensive patients in the emergency department (ED). It has been shown rule out certain shock etiologies, and improve diagnostic certainty, however evidence on benefit in the management of hypotensive patients is limited. We report the findings from our international multicenter RCT assessing the impact of a PoCUS protocol on diagnostic accuracy, as well as other key outcomes including mortality, which are reported elsewhere. Methods: Recruitment occurred at 4 North American and 3 Southern African sites. Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 mmHg or shock index >1) who were randomized to either PoCUS or control groups. Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. Demographics, clinical details and findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes, with ultrasound performed in the PoCUS group prior to secondary assessment. Final chart review was blinded to initial impressions and PoCUS findings. Categorical data was analyzed using Fishers two-tailed test. Our sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. The perceived shock category changed more frequently in the PoCUS group 20/127 (15.7%) vs. control 7/125 (5.6%); RR 2.81 (95% CI 1.23 to 6.42; p=0.0134). There was no significant difference in change of diagnostic impression between groups PoCUS 39/123 (31.7%) vs control 34/124 (27.4%); RR 1.16 (95% CI 0.786 to 1.70; p=0.4879). There was no significant difference in the rate of correct category of shock between PoCUS (118/127; 93%) and control (113/122; 93%); RR 1.00 (95% CI 0.936 to 1.08; p=1.00), or for correct diagnosis; PoCUS 90/127 (70%) vs control 86/122 (70%); RR 0.987 (95% CI 0.671 to 1.45; p=1.00). Conclusion: This is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients. We found that the use of PoCUS did change physicians’ perceived shock category. PoCUS did not improve diagnostic accuracy for category of shock or diagnosis.