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Sonography in Hypotension and Cardiac Arrest in the Emergency Department. (SHoC-ED 1)

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01419106
Recruitment Status : Unknown
Verified June 2015 by Paul Atkinson, Horizon Health Network.
Recruitment status was:  Recruiting
First Posted : August 17, 2011
Last Update Posted : June 19, 2015
Information provided by (Responsible Party):

Study Description
Brief Summary:
This study is designed to determine if there is any relationship between performing an abdominal ultrasound on patients who present with hypotension and their clinical outcomes (as measured by 7, 30 day and discharge mortality).

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment
Hypotension Point of Care Ultrasound Shock Device: Ultrasound (A point of care ultrasound protocol)

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Detailed Description:



Patients who present to the ED (emergency department) with undifferentiated, non-trauma associated hypotension are often affected by conditions with a prognosis largely dependent on the time taken from presentation to correct diagnosis and intervention. The ACES protocol (Abdominal and Cardiothoracic Evaluation with Sonography in Shock) provides a rapid focused ultrasound protocol for making or refining diagnoses in patients who present to the ED with this type of hypotension. This will be the first study to compare the clinical outcomes of patients who are assessed with the ACES protocol as part of their initial workup to those of patients who are assessed without any intervention by ultrasound. The goal of this study is to determine if ACES enhances the patient's clinical outcomes, as measured by: 1) Time to restoration (or improvement) of CVS (cardiovascular system) parameters, 2) Rate of normalization of acid-base balance, as well as venous lactate 3) Significant change in diagnosis or recommended intervention 4) Frequency of unexpected diagnosis, and 5) Patient 7 and 30-day, and discharge mortality rate.


SHoC-ED 1 is a stratified randomized control trial that will run in multiple centers across Canada and internationally. The data will be stratified in that each center involved will recruit equal amounts of control and intervention patients. While different centers will recruit different numbers of participants, each individual center will recruit near-equal amounts for each arm of the study.

ED nurses will identify potential candidates for the SHoC-ED 1 study, and flag their charts to notify the attending physician. ED Physicians trained on the ACES protocol will then proceed to review the exclusion criteria (part of patient inclusion sheet/patient flag) and where appropriate, obtain consent. After these are completed, the physician will retrieve an envelope that contains the already randomized forms appropriate for whichever arm the patient has been randomized to. This randomization will place patients in either the ACES group (to be referred to as Group 1), or the control group (to be referred to as Group 2). Physicians following the group 1 protocol will perform their normal initial assessment and then do ACES, recording their data after each step. Physicians in group 2 will simply record their data after the initial assessment. Both groups of physicians will then record their impressions at 60 minutes as this will enable this project to determine how changes in diagnoses are affected by non-ultrasound factors in the first hour a patient is in the ED. These diagnoses will then be compared against the "final" diagnoses made during the patient's admission. Exclusion criteria for this study include the following: A) necessity of CPR or other advanced life support interventions before enrollment, B) History of significant trauma in past 24 hours, C) A 12 lead ECG diagnostic of STEMI, D) Mechanism of shock is clear (i.e. not undifferentiated shock), E) previously known diagnosis from other hospital, F) previously confirmed pregnancy, G) vagal episode H) Low blood pressure is not actually pathologic hypotension, but instead a normal variant or some other phenomenon.

To ensure that scans are being performed properly and consistently at all sites included in this study local principal investigators will be responsible for ensuring appropriate training and monitoring of standards for the physicians at their center performing ACES.

The data collected from both Group 1 and Group 2 will then be compared against each other, and follow-up will be conducted to ascertain if the early intervention with ACES had any implications on long-term outcomes.


Given that much of the data interpreted will be comparing numerical values from different strata (Example: Time taken to operating theatre compared between Group 1 and 2), ANOVA testing will be used. The results of the ANOVA test will be used to determine if there is a significant difference in outcome, as measured by 1) Time to restoration (or improvement) of CVS parameters, and 2) Rate of normalization of acid-base balance (using either venous or arterial blood gas), and blood lactate.

For categorical data (Example: Mortality rate between groups), chi-square analyses will be performed to determine statistically significant increase in clinical outcome. This will be done for:

  • Significant changes in diagnosis/recommendations in intervention change, and
  • Frequency of unexpected diagnosis.


This SRCT (stratified randomized control trial) will determine whether the ACES protocol leads to improved clinical outcomes in patients who present to the ED with undifferentiated, non-trauma associated shock. It will compare intervention with the ACES protocol to intervention with no ultrasound at all.

Study Design

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 400 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Diagnostic
Official Title: SHoC-ED 1: Sonography in Hypotension and Cardiac Arrest in the Emergency Department.
Study Start Date : August 2011
Estimated Primary Completion Date : December 2015
Estimated Study Completion Date : July 2016

Arms and Interventions

Arm Intervention/treatment
No Intervention: Control
This arm of the study will NOT receive point of care ultrasound. They will receive all other standard care implemented during their visit to the ED (currently, ultrasound is NOT standard of care). The same blood tests will be done in both groups, as this will offer a means of comparing physiological changes between the two arms.
Experimental: Ultrasound
This group WILL receive point of care ultrasound. The protocol they will receive is the ACES protocol (described above).
Device: Ultrasound (A point of care ultrasound protocol)
Bedside ultrasound will be used to view any intraperitoneal bleeding, pleural fluid, cardiac abnormalities, or structural abnormalities of major blood vessels. The results of this test will then be used to determine the best course of treatment for the patient.

Outcome Measures

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Patient Mortality Rates (7-day, 30 Day or Hospital Discharge) [ Time Frame: 7-day, 30 Day or Hospital Discharge ]
    Determine the proportion of patients living at 7-day, 30 Day or Hospital Discharge

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Time taken to appropriate intervention [ Time Frame: Within 8 hours ]
    This is a measure that will be done to determine how long after initial diagnosis "appropriate" interventions are taken. This will be done by reviewing the patient's chart, identifying what the ultimate diagnosis for the patient was (resultant of testing that occurs as patient progresses through system), and seeing when propoer intervention was taken.

  2. Unexpected change in diagnosis [ Time Frame: First hour ]
    If ED physician's expectations prior to performing ultrasound is AAA, but post ultrasound diagnosis is septic shock, this would be an example of an unexpected change in diagnosis. This measure will only be performed in the ultrasound group, as the purpose is to identify how often performing ultrasound will result in diagnosis changes.

Eligibility Criteria

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   19 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • 19 years of age or older
  • Systolic Blood Pressure under 100 OR Systolic BP under pulse (up to 120)

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patients known to be pregnant at time of presentation
  • Necessity of CPR or other advanced life support interventions before enrolment
  • History of significant trauma in past 24 hours
  • A 12 lead diagnostic of acute myocardial infarction
  • Mechanism of shock is clear (i.e. not undifferentiated shock)
  • Previously known diagnosis from other hospital
  • Vagal episode (as cause of hypotension)
  • Low blood pressure not actually being pathologic hypotension (Normal Variant or other)
Contacts and Locations

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT01419106

Contact: Paul Atkinson, MD 1 506 343-0850 Paul.Atkinson@Dal.ca
Contact: James D Milne, MD (Student) 1 506 977-1668 jm502596@dal.ca

Canada, Manitoba
University of Manitoba Recruiting
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Contact: Chau Pham, MD       chaupham1@hotmail.com   
Principal Investigator: Chau Pham, MD         
Canada, New Brunswick
Saint John Regional Hospital Recruiting
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, E2L 4L2
Contact: Paul Atkinson, MD       pandjatkinson@gmail.com   
Contact: Jacky Fraser, BN       jacqueline.fraser@horizonnb.ca   
Principal Investigator: Paul Atkinson, MD         
Canada, Saskatchewan
Saskatoon Health Region Active, not recruiting
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, S7K 0M7
South Africa
GF Jooste Hospital Active, not recruiting
Manenberg, Cape Town, South Africa, 7764
Tygerberg Hospital Active, not recruiting
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Khayelitsha Hospital Active, not recruiting
Cape Town, South Africa
Sponsors and Collaborators
Horizon Health Network
University of Cape Town
University of Stellenbosch
Dalhousie University
University of Manitoba
University of Saskatchewan
Harvard University
University of British Columbia
Royal College of Emergency Medicine
Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians
Saint Göran Hospital
University of Michigan
Principal Investigator: James D Milne, MD (Student) Dalhousie Medical School
Principal Investigator: Paul Atkinson, MD Saint John Regional Hospital, Horizon Health Network
Study Director: Jacqueline Fraser, BN Saint John Regional Hospital, Horizon Health Network
More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: Paul Atkinson, Dr. Paul Atkinson, Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Horizon Health Network
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01419106     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2011-1590
First Posted: August 17, 2011    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: June 19, 2015
Last Verified: June 2015

Keywords provided by Paul Atkinson, Horizon Health Network:
Emergency care
Point of care Ultrasound

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Heart Arrest
Disease Attributes
Pathologic Processes
Heart Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases
Vascular Diseases