Motion Analysis: An Objective Assessment of Special Operations Forces and Tactical Medics Performing Point-of-Care Ultrasound


Baribeau V, Murugappan K, Sharkey A, Lodico DN, Walsh DP, Lin DC, Wong VT, Weinstein J, Matyal R, Mahmood F, Mitchell JD 99(5). 70 - 76 (Journal Article)

Background: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is commonly employed to image the heart, lungs, and abdomen. Rapid ultrasound for shock and hypotension (RUSH) exams are a critical component of POCUS employed in austere environments by Special Operations Forces (SOF) and tactical medics for triage and diagnosis. Despite its utility, training for POCUS remains largely unstandardized with respect to feedback and markers of proficiency. We hypothesized that motion analysis could objectively identify improvement in medics' performance of RUSH exams. Furthermore, we predicted that motion metrics would correlate with qualitative ratings administered by attending anesthesiologists. Methods: A team of civilian and military attending anesthesiologists trained 24 medics in POCUS during a 5-day course. Each medic performed eight RUSH exams using an ultrasound probe equipped with an electromagnetic motion sensor to track total distance travelled (path length), movements performed (translational motions), degrees rotated (rotational sum), and time. Instructors (experts) observed and rated the exams on the following items: image finding, image fine-tuning, speed, final image accuracy, and global assessment. Motion metrics were used to provide feedback to medics throughout the course. Generalized estimating equations were used to analyze the trends of motion metrics across all trials. Correlations amongst motion metrics and expert ratings were assessed with Pearson correlation coefficients. Results: Participants exhibited a negative trend in all motion metrics (p < 0.001). Pearson correlation coefficients revealed moderate inverse correlations amongst motion metrics and expert ratings. Conclusion: Motion analysis was able to quantify and describe the performance of medics training in POCUS and correlated with expert ratings.

  • Manufacturer: Breakaway Media, LLC

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