To quantify the current availability and use of bedside emergency department ultrasonography (EDUS) for blunt trauma at Canadian pediatric centres and to identify any perceived barriers to the use of bedside EDUS in such centres.
An electronic survey was sent to 162 pediatric emergency physicians and 12 site directors from the 12 pediatric emergency departments across Canada.
Ninety-two percent (11 of 12) of centres completed the survey. The individual physician response rate was 65% (106 of 162), with 100% of site directors responding. Ultrasound machines were available in 45% (5 of 11) of centres. Forty-two percent (32 of 77) of emergency physicians working in equipped pediatric centres used bedside EDUS to evaluate blunt abdominal trauma (BAT). In the subgroup of staff who also worked at adults sites, the frequency of ultrasonography use for the evaluation of pediatric BAT was 75%. In the 55% (6 of 11) of centres without ultrasonography, 88% of staff intend to incorporate its use in the future and 81% indicated that they believed the incorporation of ultrasonography would have a positive impact on patient care. The main perceived barriers to the use of ultrasonography in the evaluation of BAT were a lack of training (41%) and a lack of equipment (26%).
Bedside EDUS is currently used in almost half of pediatric trauma centres, a frequency that is significantly lower than adult centres. Physicians in pediatric centres who use ultrasonography report that it has a high utility, and a great majority of physicians at pediatric centres without EDUS plan to incorporate it in the future. The main reported barriers to its use are a lack of training and a lack of equipment availability.