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Emergency care
Blinding practices during acute point-of-care ultrasound research: the BLIND-US meta-research study
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  • Published on:
    Consideration of the need for diversity in point-of-care ultrasound research design
    • Ryan L DeSanti, DO Department of Pediatrics, Drexel College of Medicine, St Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, PA, USA
    • Other Contributors:
      • Awni Al-Subu, MD

    To the Editor,

    We read with great interest the recent publication by Prager et al in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine (1) and commend the authors on their important work. The authors characterize blinding practices in point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) diagnostic accuracy clinical research. The authors evaluated whether the interpreter was blinded to patient clinical information in articles published in Emergency Medicine, Anesthesia, and Critical Care journals from January 2016 to 2020. Among 97 studies, the authors found that the POCUS interpreter was blinded to clinical information in 38.1% of studies, not blinded in 35.1%, and that the blinding practice was not reported in 26.8%. They additionally report that the same person obtained and interpreted images in 74.2% of studies, was different in 14.4%, and was not reported in 11.3%. These results demonstrate significant variability in POCUS research, leading the authors to conclude that to ensure generalizability of future research, the same person should perform and interpret the POCUS scan and not be blinded to clinical information.

    The authors are firm in their recommendation and its perceived benefit. We believe, however, that it is short-sighted to uniformly recommend a study design in this rapidly evolving field. The authors (and importantly, future researchers) should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of differing study designs. Both blinding and not blinding to clinical information allow co...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.