Diagnosis of Pregnancy Complications Using Blind Ultrasound Sweeps Performed by Individuals Without Prior Formal Ultrasound Training

Marika Toscano, Thomas Marini, Clare Lennon, Mariah Erlick, Hannah Silva, Kathryn Crofton, William Serratelli, Neel Rana, Ann M. Dozier, Benjamin Castaneda, Timothy M. Baran, Kathryn Drennan

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

1 Cita (Scopus)


Objective: To estimate the diagnostic accuracy of blind ultrasound sweeps performed with a low-cost, portable ultrasound system by individuals with no prior formal ultrasound training to diagnose common pregnancy complications. Methods: This is a single-center, prospective cohort study conducted from October 2020 to January 2022 among people with second- and third-trimester pregnancies. Nonspecialists with no prior formal ultrasound training underwent a brief training on a simple eight-step approach to performing a limited obstetric ultrasound examination that uses blind sweeps of a portable ultrasound probe based on external body landmarks. The sweeps were interpreted by five blinded maternal-fetal medicine subspecialists. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values for blinded ultrasound sweep identification of pregnancy complications (fetal malpresentation, multiple gestations, placenta previa, and abnormal amniotic fluid volume) were compared with a reference standard ultrasonogram as the primary analysis. Kappa for agreement was also assessed. Results: Trainees performed 194 blinded ultrasound examinations on 168 unique pregnant people (248 fetuses) at a mean of 28±5.85 weeks of gestation for a total of 1,552 blinded sweep cine clips. There were 49 ultrasonograms with normal results (control group) and 145 ultrasonograms with abnormal results with known pregnancy complications. In this cohort, the sensitivity for detecting a prespecified pregnancy complication was 91.7% (95% CI 87.2-96.2%) overall, with the highest detection rate for multiple gestations (100%, 95% CI 100-100%) and noncephalic presentation (91.8%, 95% CI 86.4-97.3%). There was high negative predictive value for placenta previa (96.1%, 95% CI 93.5-98.8%) and abnormal amniotic fluid volume (89.5%, 95% CI 85.3-93.6%). There was also substantial to perfect mean agreement for these same outcomes (range 87-99.6% agreement, Cohen range 0.59-0.91, P<.001 for all). Conclusion: Blind ultrasound sweeps of the gravid abdomen guided by an eight-step protocol using only external anatomic landmarks and performed by previously untrained operators with a low-cost, portable, battery-powered device had excellent sensitivity and specificity for high-risk pregnancy complications such as malpresentation, placenta previa, multiple gestations, and abnormal amniotic fluid volume, similar to results of a diagnostic ultrasound examination using a trained ultrasonographer and standard-of-care ultrasound machine. This approach has the potential to improve access to obstetric ultrasonography globally.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)937-948
Número de páginas12
PublicaciónObstetrics and Gynecology
EstadoPublicada - 1 may. 2023
Publicado de forma externa


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