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Cureus. 2017 Jun 8;9(6):e1324. doi: 10.7759/cureus.1324.

Point-of-Care Ultrasound for Jugular Venous Pressure Assessment: Live and Online Learning Compared.

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Emergency Medicine, Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
Emergency Medicine, University of Calgary.
Clinical Research Support Unit, University of Saskatchewan.
Emergency Medicine, Sudbury Regional Hospital.



Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is a novel technique for the assessment of jugular venous pressure. Distance education may allow for efficient dissemination of this technique. We compared online learning to a live course for teaching ultrasonography jugular venous pressure (u-JVP) to determine if these teaching methods yielded different levels of comfort with and use of u-JVP.


This was an interventional trial of Canadian emergency physicians who had taken a basic POCUS course. The participants were in one of three Groups: online learning (Group OL), live teaching (Group LT), control (Group C). Group LT participants also took an advanced course prior to the study that included instruction in u-JVP. The participants who took the basic course were randomized to Group OL or Group C. Group OL was subject to the intervention, online learning. Group C only received an article citation regarding u-JVP. Questionnaires were completed before and after the intervention. The primary outcome was physician self-reported use and comfort with the technique of u-JVP after online learning compared to live teaching.


Of the 287 advanced course participants, 42 completed the questionnaires (Group LT). Of the 3303 basic course participants, 47 who were assigned to Group OL completed the questionnaires and 47 from Group C completed the questionnaires. Use of u-JVP increased significantly in Group OL (from 15% to 55%) and Group C (from 21% to 47%) with the intervention. The comfort with use did not differ between Group LT and Group OL (p=0.14). The frequency of use remained higher in Group LT than Group OL (p=0.07).


Online learning increases the use and comfort with performing u-JVP for emergency physicians with prior POCUS experience. Although the comfort with use of u-JVP was similar in Groups LT and OL, online learning appears to yield levels of use that are less than those of a live course.


distance education; emergency medicine; medical education; point-of-care diagnostics; ultrasound

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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