Indexed on: 24 Sep '13Published on: 24 Sep '13Published in: Resuscitation
Advances in technology have made prehospital ultrasound (US) examination available. Whether US in the prehospital setting can lead to improvement in clinical outcomes is yet unclear.The aim of this systematic review was to assess whether prehospital US improves clinical outcomes for non-trauma patients.We conducted a systematic review on non-trauma patients who had an US examination performed in the prehospital setting. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and the ISI Web of Science and the references of the included studies for additional relevant studies. We then performed a risk of bias analysis and descriptive data analysis.We identified 1707 unique citations and included ten studies with a total of 1068 patients undergoing prehospital US examination. Included publications ranged from case series to non-randomized, descriptive studies, and all showed a high risk of bias. The large heterogeneity between the different studies made further statistical analysis impossible.There are currently no randomized, controlled studies on the use of US for non-trauma patients in the prehospital setting. The included studies were of large heterogeneity and all showed a high risk of bias. We were thus unable to assess the effect of prehospital US on clinical outcomes. However, consistent reports suggested that US may improve patient management with respect to diagnosis, treatment, and hospital referral.