Point of care ultrasonographic life support in emergency (PULSE)-a quasi-experimental study

Document Type



Emergency Medicine


Background: Many physicians use point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) in their clinical practice to improve their diagnostic capabilities, accuracy, and timeliness. Over the last two decades, the use of PoCUS in the emergency room has dramatically increased. This study aimed to determine emergency physicians' retention of knowledge and skills after a brief training workshop on a focused ultrasound-guided approach to a patient presenting with undifferentiated shock, shortness of breath, and cardiac arrest in the emergency department of a tertiary care hospital. The secondary aim was to deliver the PoCUS-guided algorithmic approach to manage a patient presenting with undifferentiated shock, respiratory distress, and cardiac arrest in the emergency department.
Methods: A quasi-experimental study was conducted with a single-day Point of Care Ultrasonographic Life Support in Emergency (PULSE) training workshop in October 2021 at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan. A total of 32 participants attended the course, including twenty-one junior residents (PGY 1 and 2) and medical officers with experience of fewer than two years working in different emergency departments of urban tertiary care hospitals across Karachi, Pakistan. Pre- and post-assessment tools comprised a written examination, evaluating participants' knowledge and skills in ultrasound image acquisition and interpretation. Cronbach's alpha was used to calculate the validity of the tool. Results obtained before and after the training session were compared by the McNemar's test. A p value of ≤ 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: There was a significant improvement in response to each question pre to post-test after completion of the course (Table 1). The significant change can be seen in questions 7, 8, 13, and 15, with a percentage change of 33.3, 80.9, 42.9, and 47.7. There was a significant improvement in the understanding and knowledge of participants after the training. The scores in the post-test were high compared to the pre-test in each category, i.e., respiratory distress (p < 0.017), cardiac arrest (p < 0.041), basic ultrasound knowledge (p < 0.001), and undifferentiated shock (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: All participants showed improvement in their knowledge and confidence regarding using PoCUS in life-threatening conditions. Through this study, we have also developed an algorithmic approach to managing undifferentiated shock, respiratory failure, and cardiac arrest. Future studies must assess the effectiveness and feasibility of incorporating these algorithms into clinical practice


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Publication (Name of Journal)

International Journal of Emergency Medicine