Growth and globalization of point-of-care ultrasound publications in emergency medicine

Campbell Belisle Haley, University of California, Irvine Medical Center, Orange, California, USA.
Dina McKelvy, Library Services, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine, USA.
David C. Mackenzie, Department of Emergency Medicine, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine, USA.


OBJECTIVES: Since the introduction of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in emergency medicine (EM), the applications, indications, and training for POCUS have grown. POCUS training in EM residency is standard and POCUS fellowships are common. We sought to quantify and characterize changes in POCUS publications over time with a scoping review of the literature METHODS: We conducted a structured keyword search of high impact EM journals according to 2019 journal citation reports and other journals publishing POCUS studies between 2000-2019. Two abstractors recorded whether the publication was POCUS related, the type of publication, and author affiliation by department and country. We included studies with at least one author affiliated with a department of EM. Agreement between abstractors was tested. RESULTS: The number of POCUS-related publications grew from a mean of 8.8 publications/year 2000-2004 to 134.8 publications/year from 2015-2019. The most common publication type was case reports or series (44%). The proportion of publications from outside the United States (US) decreased over time. Between 2000 and 2004 89% of publications came from authors affiliated with US institutions; from 2015-2019 this had decreased to 64%. Agreement between abstractors was excellent (Cohen's k = 0.89) CONCLUSIONS: POCUS publications increased substantially between 2000-2019. The most common type of publication was a case report, which was consistent throughout the study period. Authorship from outside the US increased. Publications yielding high-quality evidence from observational or controlled studies represented a low proportion of the total number of studies.