Ultrasound in Emergency Medicine| Volume 48, ISSUE 4, P450-457, April 2015

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Accuracy of Optic Nerve Sheath Diameter Measurement by Emergency Physicians Using Bedside Ultrasound

Published:December 09, 2014DOI:



      Ultrasound (US) measurement of the optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD) has been utilized as an indirect assessment of intracranial pressure. It is usually performed by trained ultrasonographers.


      To evaluate whether or not emergency physicians (EP) are capable of measuring the ONSD accurately by US.

      Materials and Methods

      A retrospective measurement of ONSD was conducted on computed tomography (CT) scans of the head or facial bones. These patients had undergone ocular US performed by EPs prior to CT scanning. The CT scan measurements of ONSD read by a board-certified radiologist were compared with that of the US read by a registered diagnostic medical sonographer. A difference in measurements of the ONSD ≥ 0.5 mm between the two modalities was considered as significant for this study.


      The ONSD measurements were performed with CT scan and compared to that of the US. Of the 61 patients studied, 36 (59%) were male and 25 (41%) were female. The average age was 56 ± 17 years. All but 3 patients had ONSD measurements that were between 5 and 6 mm. Discrepancy in measurements of the ONSD between US and CT for both groups fell within our predetermined value (0.5 mm) for the majority of cases. None of the measurements were above 6 mm. The intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.9 (95% confidence interval 0.8846–0.9303).


      Emergency physicians were capable of accurately measuring the ONSD using bedside US. Prospective studies with a larger sample size are recommended to validate these findings.


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      Linked Article

      • Erratum
        Journal of Emergency MedicineVol. 51Issue 2
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          Hassen GW, Bruck I, Donahue J, Mason B, Sweeney B, Saab W, Weedon J, Patel N, Perry K, Matari H, Jaiswal R, Kalantari H. Accuracy Of Optic Nerve Sheath Diameter Measurement by Emergency Physicians Using Bedside Ultrasound. J Emerg Med. 2015;48(4):450-7.
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      • The Bedside Ultrasound: A Rapid Way of Measuring Optic Nerve Sheath Diameter in Emergency
        Journal of Emergency MedicineVol. 51Issue 2
        • Preview
          We read with great interest the article written by Hassen et al. in the April 2015 issue of the Journal (1). The authors aimed to evaluate whether or not emergency physicians (EPs) are capable of measuring the optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD) accurately using ultrasound (US). They concluded that EPs are capable of accurately measuring the ONSD using bedside US. We congratulate the authors for their enlightening study about this important subject, which is a common problem in the emergency department (ED).
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