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Open Access Open Badges Original article

Accuracy of emergency physician performed bedside ultrasound in determining gestational age in first trimester pregnancy

Turandot Saul1*, Resa E Lewiss1 and Marina Del Rios Rivera2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Emergency Ultrasound Division, St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospital Center, 1000 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10019, USA

2 Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, 808 South Wood Street, 476C CME, Chicago, IL, 60612, USA

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Critical Ultrasound Journal 2012, 4:22  doi:10.1186/2036-7902-4-22

Published: 6 December 2012



Patient reported menstrual history, physician clinical evaluation, and ultrasonography are used to determine gestational age in the pregnant female. Previous studies have shown that pregnancy dating by last menstrual period (LMP) and physical examination findings can be inaccurate. An ultrasound performed in the radiology department is considered the standard for determining an accurate gestational age. The aim of this study is to determine the accuracy of emergency physician performed bedside ultrasound as an estimation of gestational age (EDUGA) as compared to the radiology department standard.


A prospective convenience sample of ED patients presenting in the first trimester of pregnancy (based upon self-reported LMP) regardless of their presenting complaint were enrolled. EDUGA was compared to gestational age estimated by ultrasound performed in the department of radiology (RGA) as the gold standard. Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficient was used to determine the correlation between EDUGA compared to RGA.


Sixty-eight pregnant patients presumed to be in the 1st trimester of pregnancy based upon self-reported LMP consented to enrollment. When excluding the cases with no fetal pole, the median discrepancy of EDUGA versus RGA was 2 days (interquartile range (IQR) 1 to 3.25). The correlation coefficient of EDUGA with RGA was 0.978. When including the six cases without a fetal pole in the data analysis, the median discrepancy of EDUGA compared with RGA was 3 days (IQR 1 to 4). The correlation coefficient of EDUGA with RGA was 0.945.


Based on our comparison of EDUGA to RGA in patients presenting to the ED in the first trimester of pregnancy, we conclude that emergency physicians are capable of accurately performing this measurement. Emergency physicians should consider using ultrasound to estimate gestational age as it may be useful for the future care of that pregnant patient.

Gestational age dating; Bedside ultrasound; First trimester pregnancy