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Adequacy of the emergency point-of-care ultrasound core curriculum for the local burden of disease in South Africa
  1. Daniël J van Hoving1,
  2. Heinrich H Lamprecht1,
  3. Melanie Stander1,
  4. Kamil Vallabh2,
  5. David Fredericks2,
  6. Pauline Louw1,
  7. Monique Müller1,
  8. Jacques J Malan2
  1. 1Division of Emergency Medicine, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
  2. 2Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daniël Jacobus van Hoving, Division of Emergency Medicine, P.O Box 19063, Tygerberg, 7505, South Africa; nvhoving{at}


Objective This prospective cross-sectional study assesses the adequacy of the current South African emergency point-of-care ultrasound (EPCUS) core curriculum against the local burden of disease.

Method Patients presenting to five Emergency Centres during July 2011 were eligible for inclusion. Patients under the age of 12, after-hour presentations, missing folders and folders with incomplete notes were excluded. Emergency physicians with EPCUS exposure were responsible for data collection. They were all blinded to the study's aim. Summary statistics describe the proportion of clinical cases and procedures for which EPCUS was used. One investigator assessed the adequacy of the curriculum by matching the clinical indications of each module with the presenting complaint and final diagnosis of each patient. The ultrasound modules were ranked according to the frequency of their clinical indications. κ-Statistics are reported on 10% randomly selected cases to quantify interobserver agreement.

Results The study included 2971 patients. Ultrasound assisted with diagnosis in 384 (12.92%) patients and in 34 (1.14%) procedures. A total of 1933 EPCUS procedures were indicated in 1844 (66.07%) patients. The five most frequently indicated modules were pulmonary, musculoskeletal, cardiac, focused assessment with sonography of HIV/tuberculosis co-infection and renal. The interobserver agreement (κ) was 0.602 (95% CI 0.559 to 0.645).

Conclusions This study was an attempt to ensure an evidence-based approach to assess the adequacy of the EPCUS core curriculum in South Africa. The results illustrate that our local burden of disease may require a change of the current core curriculum.

  • Ultrasound
  • curriculum
  • emergency
  • burden of disease
  • South Africa
  • toxicology
  • education
  • teaching
  • ECG
  • acute medicine-other
  • cardiac arrest
  • clinical care
  • clinical management

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  • Funding This study received a grant from the Harry Crossley Foundation at Stellenbosch University.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Approval provided by the Stellenbosch University Health Research Ethics Committee (Ref: N11/02/053) and the Western Cape Health Research Committee (Ref: 2011 RP 33).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.