Residents Can Be Trained to Detect Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Using Personal Ultrasound Imagers: A Pilot Study
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Our objective was to test the hypothesis that internal medicine residents can be trained to screen for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) using personal ultrasound imagers. We trained 5 randomly chosen internal medicine residents to image the abdominal aorta for patients with risk factors for AAAs using personal ultrasound imagers. Residents were trained in 3 or 4 one-on-one sessions with an instructor. To be eligible, patients had to be older than 65 years and have hypertension. After training, each of the 5 residents studied 3 patients independently. In 12 of the residents' 15 unsupervised studies, their abdominal aorta measurements were within 5 mm of the instructor's measurements with standard echocardiography (mean difference 3 mm, range 0-6 mm). Residents detected 3 previously unknown AAAs measuring 5.2, 4.2, and 3.9 cm in diameter. We conclude residents can be trained to image the abdominal aorta with personal ultrasound imagers and to identify AAAs in patients at risk.
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