Vol 1-2 Research Article

Evaluation of a Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) training course for Regional Anesthesiologists – A Single Institution’s Experience

Alex K. Saltzman1, Thuyvan H. Luu1, Nicole Brunetti1, James D. Beckman1,2, Mary J. Hargett1, Stephen C. Haskins1,2*

1Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care & Pain Management, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, USA

2Department of Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, USA

Background and Objectives: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in the form of focused cardiac ultrasound (FOCUS) is a powerful clinical tool for anesthesiologists to supplement bedside evaluation and optimize cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the perioperative setting. However, few courses are available to train physicians. At Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), from March of 2013 to May of 2016, nine basic Focused Assessed Transthoracic Echocardiography (FATE) training courses were held. A large percentage of the participants were practicing regional anesthesiologists or trainees in fellowship for regional anesthesia and acute pain. In this study, a survey was used to assess clinical utilization as well as potential barriers to use for regional anesthesiologists.

Methods: Following IRB approval, 183 past participants of the basic FATE training course were contacted weekly from November 22nd, 2016, through January 3rd, 2017, via email and sent a maximum 40-item electronic survey hosted on REDCap. Responses were analyzed by a blinded statistician.

Results: 92 participants responded (50%), and 65 of the 92 (70.7%) indicated they had regional anesthesiology training or practice regional anesthesia regularly. Of the total number of respondents, 50% (95% CI: 40.3%, 59.8%; P-value = 0.001) have used FOCUS to guide clinical decision making. Of the regional anesthesiologists, 27 (45.8%) have used FOCUS to guide clinical decision making with left ventricular function assessment (40.7%) and hypovolemia (39.0%) being the most common reasons. Regional anesthesiologists utilized FOCUS in the following settings: preoperatively (44.6%), intraoperatively (41.5%), postoperatively (41.5%), and in the Intensive Care Unit (40.0%). Limitations were due to lack of opportunities (52.3%), resources (36.9%), and comfort with performance (30.8%). 84.4% agreed that basic FOCUS training should be a required part of anesthesia residents or fellows’ curriculum.

Conclusions: This study is the first formal evaluation of the impact of the implementation of a FOCUS training course on regional anesthesiologists’ current practice. Nearly 50% of regional anesthesiologists used FOCUS to guide clinical decision-making following formal training. The limitations to the use of FOCUS were a lack of relevant opportunities and resources. This evaluation of clinical use following training provides insight into how FOCUS is used by regional anesthesiologists and the limitations to implementation in the perioperative setting.

DOI: 10.29245/2768-5365/2020/2.1104 View / Download Pdf