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World J Emerg Med. 2019;10(2):109-113. doi: 10.5847/wjem.j.1920-8642.2019.02.007.

Can an 8th grade student learn point of care ultrasound?

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Sage Hill School, 20402 Newport Coast Drive, Newport Coast, California 92657, USA.
Department of Emergency Medicine, UC Irvine Medical Center, UC Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, Orange, California 92868, USA.



Point-of-care ultrasound has gained widespread use in developing countries due to decreased cost and improved telemedicine capabilities. Ultrasound training, specifically image acquisition skills, is occurring with more frequency in non-medical personnel with varying educational levels in these underdeveloped areas. This study evaluates if students without a high school education can be trained to acquire useful FAST images, and to determine if an 8th grade student can teach peers these skills.


The 8th grade students at a small middle school were divided into two groups. One group received training by a certified medical sonographer, while the other group received training by a peer 8th grade student trainer who had previously received training by the sonographer. After training, each student was independently tested by scanning the four FAST locations. A blinded ultrasound expert evaluated these images and deemed each image adequate or inadequate for clinical use.


Eighty video image clips were obtained. The overall image adequacy rate was 74%. The splenorenal window had the highest rate at 95%, followed by retrovesical at 90%, hepatorenal at 75%, and subxiphoid cardiac at 35%. The adequacy rate of the sonographer-trained group was 78%, while the adequacy rate of the student-trained group was 70%. The difference in image adequacy rate between the two groups was not significant (P-value 0.459).


The majority of 8th graders obtained clinically adequate FAST images after minimal training. Additionally, the student-trained group performed as well as the sonographer-trained group.


FAST; Image acquisition; Point of care ultrasound; Training

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of interest: All authors have no financial or other conflicts of interest related to the submitted article.

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