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New Research on POCUS and Pyeloplasty

January 3, 2020

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has one of the most extensive point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) programs in the United States. Begun in 2015, the hospital-wide POCUS program encompasses 14 subspecialties. The Division of Pediatric Urology is one of the 14 subspecialties taking part in the program and has an extensive patient data history on its use that is being used for ongoing research projects.

One such project is an investigation of the use of POCUS in relation to follow-up care for cases of pyeloplasty for the treatment of uretero-pelvic junction obstruction (UPJO) anomalies. 

Second-year pediatric urology fellow Jeffrey Villanueva, MD, along with his mentor Glenn M. Cannon, MD, division chief, have been investigating the efficacy and safety of POCUS for follow-up diagnostics in comparison to similar ultrasound procedures performed in the radiology department.

“Our goal is to see if our follow-up ultrasound imaging is efficient and cost-effective, that safety of the imaging is similar to those done in the radiology department, and that patient satisfaction is high,” says Dr. Villanueva.

Performing the ultrasound scans in the clinic as opposed to radiology can cut down on the amount of time patients need to spend in the hospital and clinic.

The current research project is examining a small case series of 57 patients who have had a prior pyeloplasty for an UPJO. This series of patients have all had three to four clinic visits and follow-up ultrasounds postsurgery.

“We expect to have our preliminary results written up and submitted as an abstract to the next American Urological Association annual meeting, and then ultimately submitted for a peer-review publication describing our safety findings and any patient-centered benefits,” says Dr. Villanueva.

More About Dr. Villanueva

Jeffrey Villanueva, MD, is a second-year pediatric urology fellow and junior clinical instructor at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Dr. Villanueva completed his urology residency at the Medstar Georgetown University Hospital before arriving at UPMC Children’s for his fellowship training. Dr. Villanueva has a special interest in minimally invasive procedures, as well as the medical and surgical management of children with neurogenic bladder.   

More About the POCUS Program at UPMC Children’s

Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is a focused ultrasound exam performed directly at the bedside by clinicians. POCUS exams improve the accuracy, quality, and efficiency of clinical care by bringing the diagnostic imaging modality directly to the patient.

The hospital-wide POCUS program at UPMC Children’s Hospital is one of only a handful in existence in the United States. The program is currently led by emergency medicine physician and Point-of-Care Ultrasound Medical Director Jennifer Marin, MD, MSc.

The goal of the POCUS program is to improve patient care across a mix of diverse clinical specialties by standardizing the performance of point-of-care diagnostic and procedural ultrasound for many conditions and care scenarios.