• Can paramedics perform and evaluate a focused echocardiogram during a simulated 10-second pulse check, after a one-day training course?

      Younger, Paul; Richards, Simon; Jarman, Robert (2016-12)
      Abstract published with permission. Aim ‐ To assess whether paramedics can be trained to perform basic echocardiograms in the 10-second pulse check window during a simulated advanced life support (ALS) resuscitation. Introduction ‐ Cardiac arrest survival in the UK varies between 2% and 12%. Management of cardiac arrests concentrates on the detection of reversible causes, which is limited pre-hospitally due to a lack of equipment. Ultrasound machines are now small enough for pre-hospital use and may assist in the detection of some of these causes. There is currently no evidence to suggest the best methodology or required course duration to train paramedics to use ultrasound, or to indicate whether ultrasound simulation could be beneficial. Methods ‐ Ten volunteer paramedics were trained to perform focused echocardiograms using handheld ultrasounds and an ultrasound simulator. The training involved six hours of teaching and practical training, at the end of which the participants were assessed using objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) on an ultrasound simulator with three different pathologies which were relevant in cardiac arrest management. Results ‐ Paramedics were able to get a view of the heart during the assessments in 96.7% of the OSCEs, but were only able to accurately recognise the pathologies of the condition in 50%. Overall, the participants demonstrated simulated competence in 46.7% of the OSCEs. Conclusion ‐ Paramedics can be trained to gain a view of the heart using focused echocardiograms after a one-day course, but are not consistently able to determine the cardiac activity or pathology from the echocardiogram.