Utility of point-of-care musculoskeletal ultrasound in the evaluation of emergency department musculoskeletal pathology

Elaine Situ-LaCasse, Ryan W. Grieger, Stephen Crabbe, Anna L. Waterbrook, Lucas Friedman, Srikar Adhikari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: To evaluate the utilization of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) for the assessment of emergency department (ED) patients with musculoskeletal symptoms and the impact of musculoskeletal POCUS on medical decision-making and patient management in the ED. METHODS: This was a retrospective review of ED patients presenting with musculoskeletal symptoms who received a POCUS over a 3.5-year period. An ED POCUS database was reviewed for musculoskeletal POCUS examinations used for medical decision-making. Electronic medical records were then reviewed for demographic characteristics, history, physical examination findings, ED course, additional imaging studies, and impact of musculoskeletal POCUS on patient management in ED. RESULTS: A total of 264 subjects (92 females, 172 males) and 292 musculoskeletal POCUS examinations were included in the fi nal analysis. Most common symptomatic sites were knee (31.8%) and ankle (16.3%). Joint effusion was the most common fi nding on musculoskeletal POCUS, noted in 33.7% of the patients, and subcutaneous edema/cobblestoning was found in 10.2% of the patients. Muscle or tendon rupture was found in 2.3% of the patients, and 1.9% of the patients had joint dislocation. Bursitis or bursa fluid was found in 3.4% of patients, and tendonitis/tendinopathy was found in 2.3%. Twenty percent of them were ultrasound-guided musculoskeletal procedures, and most of them (73.3%) were arthrocentesis. Of the included studies, all except three either changed or helped guide patient management as documented in the patients' medical records. CONCLUSION: Our study fi ndings illustrate the utility of POCUS in the evaluation of a variety of musculoskeletal pathologies in the ED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-266
Number of pages5
JournalWorld Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Emergency department
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Point-of-care ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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