Ultrasonography in assessing suspected bone fractures: a cross-sectional survey amongst German general practitioners

Published on 2020-01-14T05:14:47Z (GMT) by
Abstract Background Over the last two decades, ultrasonography (US) has been shown to be an accurate tool for the diagnosis of suspected bone fractures; however, the integration of this application of US into routine care and outpatient settings needs to be explored. In this study, we surveyed German general practitioners (GPs) to assess their knowledge, attitudes, and utilization of US for the diagnosis of suspected fractures. Methods Notification of the study, a self-designed questionnaire, and a reminder were mailed to 600 randomly selected GPs in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. Results The response rate was 47.7% (n = 286), and respondents did not differ from the population of all GPs in respect to sex and practice type. Among GPs surveyed, 48.6% used an US device in their practice. On average, GPs diagnosed six patients with suspected fractures per month, yet only 39.3% knew about the possibility of ultrasonographic fracture diagnosis, and only 4.3% of GPs using US applied it for this purpose. Among participants, 71.9% believed that US is inferior to conventional X-rays for the diagnosis of bony injuries. Users of US were better informed of and more commonly used US for fracture diagnosis compared to non-users. Conclusion The need to rule out possible fractures frequently arises in general practice, and US devices are broadly available. Further efforts are needed to improve the knowledge and attitudes of GPs regarding the accuracy of US for fracture diagnosis. Multicenter controlled trials could explore the safety, usefulness, and effectiveness of this still seldom used diagnostic approach for suspected fractures.

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Schmid, Gordian; Kühnast, Beatrice; Heise, Marcus; Deutsch, Tobias; Frese, Thomas (2020): Ultrasonography in assessing suspected bone fractures: a cross-sectional survey amongst German general practitioners. figshare. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4816041.v1