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Quality Versus Comfort: Does Tegaderm Get in the Way of Ocular Ultrasound?

October 21, 2022

Written by Jacob Altholz

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Using Tegaderm™ during ocular ultrasound was associated with poorer image quality and had no effect on patient comfort. If you’re using ocular ultrasound as a modality, consider if using a Tegaderm™ will get in the way of a good diagnosis.

Why does this matter?
Tegaderm™ is regularly used during ocular ultrasound for patient comfort. While this is a good intention, it is prudent to study if this augmentation gets in the way of image quality and subsequent appropriate diagnosis/treatment.

Tegaderm™ troubles: ocular ultrasounds worsen
A total of 90 patients with headache or vision loss were enrolled and had their eyes imaged by an ultrasound fellow, one with a Tegaderm™ overtop and one without. Images were stored and rated by a blinded ultrasound fellowship-trained physician on a 5-point scale that rated the diagnostic acceptability and overall quality. The main outcome was image quality between the groups; however, self-reported comfort by the patient was also reported.

Image quality was overall poorer with the Tegaderm™ applied (3.39 vs. 4.33), and a lower percentage of images met a threshold for diagnostic acceptability (82.5% vs. 97.8%).

It’s worth noting that the vast majority of patients (91%) complained of a headache and no diagnoses were discussed, making it difficult to speak on quality of images when imaging retinal/vitreous detachments, for example. In addition, all sonographers involved were ultrasound fellows trained by the same faculty, so it’s difficult to generalize to novice users.

Overall, if the use of Tegaderm™ is the only way a patient will tolerate the study, I’ll go with it, but for a compliant patient who is willing, going without is probably best.

Peer reviewed by Dr. Ketan Patel

Covered or uncovered: A randomized control trial of Tegaderm versus no Tegaderm for ocular ultrasound. Am J Emerg Med. 2022 Aug 28;61:87-89. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2022.08.044. Online ahead of print.

What are your thoughts?