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Bedside Ocular Ultrasound for the Detection of Retinal Detachment in the Emergency Department

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ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2010; 17:913–917 © 2010 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Abstract Objectives: 

Acute retinal detachments (RD) can be difficult to diagnose and may require emergent intervention. This study was designed to assess the performance of emergency department ocular ultrasound (EOUS) for the diagnosis of RD. Methods: 

This was a prospective, observational study using a convenience sample of emergency department (ED) patients. Physicians performed EOUS for the diagnosis of RD prior to evaluation by an ophthalmologist. The criterion standard was the diagnosis of a RD by the ophthalmologist who was blinded to the results of EOUS. Results: 

Fifteen physicians evaluated 48 patients with acute visual changes. Eighteen patients (38%) had RDs and all were correctly identified (true positives). Of the 30 patients (62%) without RD, 25 patients were correctly identified (true negatives), and five patients with vitreous hemorrhages were misidentified as having RDs (false positives). Therefore, the sensitivity and specificity of EOUS for RD were 100% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 78% to 100%) and 83% (95% CI = 65% to 94%), respectively. Conclusions: 

Emergency department ocular ultrasound is sensitive for the diagnosis of RD and may have a role in excluding RD in patients presenting to the ED.

Keywords: retinal detachment; ultrasonography

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2010

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