New findings have suggested that using pocket-sized ultrasound devices (PUD) can reduce the need for further tests in either inpatient or outpatient clinical settings.
The study, presented at the International Liver Congress 2015, indicate that such technology could minimise costs and boost quality of care for patients.
During the research, the PUD was tested with nearly 2,000 patients who had a wide variety of conditions including biliary-duct dilation, gallstones, ascites, splenomegaly, pleural effusion, pericardial effusion, urinary retention, urinary stones, abdominal mass and aortic aneurysm.
Although PUDs are capable of performing as well as standard ultrasonography, the accuracy of physical examinations is often poor meaning that further tests are required. The study aimed to determine whether the use of PUD during a physical examination could reduce the number of additional tests needed.
In the study, more than a third of patients (37 per cent) were inpatients, a quarter (26 per cent) were hepatology outpatients and 37 per cent were recruited from GPs. The most common condition was gallstones, with 37 per cent of participants having this.
However, excessive accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity (17 per cent), pleural effusion (13 per cent), urinary stones (13 per cent) and urinary retention (12 per cent) were also common. Together, all of these accounted for more than 90 per cent of the clinical questions, which was confirmed by in two-thirds of cases.
During their study, the team found that the overall frequency of further tests needed after PUD was 37 per cent. In addition, the findings of the PUD and additional tests matched up in the majority of instances (89 per cent).
The findings concluded that, after basic training, using PUD can offer a simple and effective way of improving the accuracy of diagnosis and reduces the number of tests a patient needs.
Written by Angela Newbury
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