Barriers to point-of-care ultrasound utilization during cardiac arrest in the emergency department: a regional survey of emergency physicians

Mallika R. Singh, Jennifer S. Jackson, Mark A. Newberry, Cameron Riopelle, Vu Huy Tran, Leila L. PoSaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Though point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is recognized as a useful diagnostic and prognostic intervention during cardiac arrest (CA), critics advise caution. The purpose of this survey study was to determine the barriers to POCUS during CA in the Emergency Department (ED). Methods: Two survey instruments were distributed to emergency medicine (EM) attending and resident physicians at three academic centers in the South Florida. The surveys assessed demographics, experience, proficiency, attitudes and barriers. Descriptive and inferential statistics along with Item Response Theory Logistic Model and the Friedman Test with Wilcoxon Signed Rank tests were used to profile responses and rank barriers. Results: 206 EM physicians were invited to participate in the survey, and 187 (91%) responded. 59% of attending physicians and 47% of resident physicians reported that POCUS is performed in all their cases of CA. 5% of attending physicians and 0% of resident physicians reported never performing POCUS during CA. The top-ranked departmental barrier for attending physicians was “No structured curriculum to educate physicians on POCUS.” The top-ranked personal barriers were “I do not feel comfortable with my POCUS skills” and “I do not have sufficient time to dedicate to learning POCUS.” The top-ranked barriers for resident physicians were “Time to retrieve and operate the machine” and “Chaotic milieu.” Conclusions: While our study demonstrates that most attending and resident physicians utilize POCUS in CA, barriers to high-quality implementation exist. Top attending physician barriers relate to POCUS education, while the top resident physician barriers relate to logistics and the machines. Interventions to overcome these barriers might lead to optimization of POCUS performance during CA in the ED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Barriers
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Emergency department
  • Point-of-care ultrasound
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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