CJEM Visual Abstract: Evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of point-of-care ultrasound for cholelithiasis and cholecystitis in a Canadian emergency department

In Infographics by Rebecca SeligaLeave a Comment

In this issue, we collaborated with the CJEM team to create a visual abstract on the article ‘Evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of point-of-care ultrasound for cholelithiasis”.​1​

Cholelithiasis and cholecystitis are conditions that are frequently encountered in the emergency department. The gold standard in their diagnosis is via comprehensive ultrasound by radiology. However, there are many barriers to quickly obtaining this diagnostic imaging. In this study, Sharif et al. sought to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of emergency physician-performed point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) to diagnose cholelithiasis and cholecystitis.

The authors found that the sensitivity and specificity of using POCUS to diagnose cholelithiasis was comparable to that of comprehensive ultrasound (95.2% and 93.1% vs. 84% and 99%, respectively). While the specificity of POCUS in identifying cholecystitis was higher than comprehensive ultrasound (97.6% vs. 78%), the sensitivity was substantially lower (67.1% vs. 94%). These results support the use of POCUS in diagnosing cholelithiasis, and in ruling in cholecystitis. Clinicians should continue to rely on their history and physical examination to confirm or refute the diagnosis of cholecystitis in the presence of cholelithiasis, using POCUS as a great diagnostic adjunct!

CJEM visual abstract

Post copyedited by Samuel Wilson (@samwilson_95)

  1. 1.
    Sharif S, Vlahaki D, Skitch S, et al. Evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of point-of-care ultrasound for cholelithiasis and cholecystitis in a canadian emergency department. Can J Emerg Med. Published online January 14, 2021. doi:10.1007/s43678-020-00068-6

Rebecca Seliga

Rebecca Seliga

Rebecca Seliga is a first year emergency medicine FRCPC resident in the University of Ottawa. Her interests include inner city health, addiction medicine, medical education, and hiking up various mountains.

Samuel Wilson

Sam is a third-year Emergency Medicine FRCPC resident at The Ottawa Hospital. He is the CanadiEM/CJEM Infographic editor, interested in PoCUS, trauma, knowledge dissemination, and all things chess.