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Minerva Chirurgica 2008 February;63(1):17-22

Copyright © 2008 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Ultrasound of the acute abdomen performed by surgeons in training

Eiberg J. P., Grantcharov T. P., Eriksen J. R., Boel T., Buhl C., Jensen D., Pedersen J. F., Schulze S.

1 Department of Vascular Surgery University Hospital of Copenhagen Rigshospitalet Copenhagen, Denmark 2 Department of Surgical Gastroenterology University Hospital of Copenhagen Glostrup Copenhagen, Denmark 3 Department of Radiology University Hospital of Copenhagen Glostrup Copenhagen, Denmark


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Aim. Ultrasound has a well-established role in the diagnostic assessment of acute abdominal pain where some ultrasonically easily-accessible organs account for several diagnostic possibilities. The objective of the present study was to evaluate whether surgeons without ultrasound experience could perform valid abdominal ultrasound examinations of patients referred with acute abdominal pain.
Methods. Patients referred with acute abdominal pain had an ultrasound examination by a surgeon in training as well as by an experienced consultant radiologist whose results served as the gold standard. All participating surgeons were without any pre-existing ultrasound experience and received one hour of introduction to abdominal ultrasound.
Results. Thirty patients underwent 40 surgeon performed and 30 radiologist performed ultrasound examinations. Regarding gallstone and cholecholecystitis the sensitivity, specificity and kappa-agreement of the surgeon performed ultrasound examination was 1.00 (0.77-1.00), 0.96 (0.79-0.99), 0.94 (0.3-1.00) and 0.40 (0.12-0.77), 0.97 (0.83-0.99), 0.44 (0.00-0.96); respectively. Visualization of the common bile duct was poor having 73% non-diagnostic surgeon-performed ultrasound examinations.
Conclusion. Surgeons in training without pre-existing ultrasound experience and only a minimum of formal ultrasound education can perform valid and reliable ultrasound examinations of the gallbladder in patients admitted with acute abdominal pain.

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