Incidental findings on intensivist bedside ultrasonographic (INBU) examinations: Why should we care?

Stawicki, S. P.; Shiroff, A. M.; Hayden, G. E.; Panebianco, N. L.; Kirkpatrick, J. N.; Horan, A. D.; Gracias, V. H. and Dean, A. J. (2008) Incidental findings on intensivist bedside ultrasonographic (INBU) examinations: Why should we care? OPUS 12 Scientist, 2 (3). pp. 11-14. ISSN 1940-8633

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: The primary goal of intensivist bedside ultrasonography (INBU) is the assessment of patient hemodynamic and volume status. Inevitably, INBU examinations provide views of various thoracic and abdominal structures. Despite the rapid recent increase in utilization of INBU, there are no published descriptions of incidental findings and/or their significance in this setting. METHODS: Echocardiographic and vena cava examinations were performed by non-cardiologist intensivists in 124 surgical intensive care unit (SICU) patients using hand-carried ultrasound (HCU). In addition, any findings that were deemed ‘incidental’ were recorded. Information analyzed included patient demographics, time to complete INBU exam, and the nature of each incidental finding. Incidental findings were grouped into cardiac, pulmonary, and abdominal. To determine whether incidental INBU findings may have influenced subsequent diagnostic testing patterns, radiographic and echocardiographic examinations directly relevant to the INBU findings and performed within 48 hours of the INBU examination were reviewed. RESULTS: Fifty-eight out of 124 (46.8%) patients in the study group had at least one incidental finding. There were 86 incidental findings, with 23 patients having more than one incidental finding. Forty-eight of 86 incidental findings (55.8%) were cardiac-related, 30 (34.9%) were pulmonary-related, and 8 (9.30%) were abdominal. There were significantly more diagnostic tests performed within 48 hours of INBU in the incidental finding group (1.56 per patient) than in the non-incidental group (1.18 per patient, P < 0.04). The most common post-INBU diagnostic tests were chest radiogram (62%), formal trans-thoracic echocardiography (21%), and abdominal roentgenogram (14%). Computed tomography, formal abdominal ultrasonography, and trans-esophageal echocardiograms were performed less often. Four of 58 patients (6.9%) had a significant change in clinical management associated with the incidental INBU findings. One patient underwent percutaneous drainage of a pleural effusion and three underwent formal echocardiography, with subsequent change in medical management. CONCLUSIONS: Nearly half of all SICU patients who underwent INBU were found to have at least one incidental finding. The presence of an incidental finding may have influenced the subsequent pattern of clinical diagnostic testing. In addition, incidental findings on INBU were associated with a significant change in clinical management in nearly 7% of patients.

EPrint Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Intensivist bedside ultrasonography (INBU), Hand-carried ultrasound, Incidental findings, Clinical significance, Clinical audit.
Subjects:Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms > Pathologic Processes > Hemorrhage
Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms > Pathologic Processes > Ascites
Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms > Pathological Conditions, Anatomical > Prolapse
Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms > Pathologic Processes > Disease
Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms > Pathological Conditions, Anatomical > Calculi
ID Code:3642
Deposited By:Dr S. Peter Stawicki
Deposited On:16 March 2011

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