Lung-ultrasound objective structured assessment of technical skills (LUS-OSAUS): utility in the assessment of lung-ultrasound trained medical undergraduates

Santi Di Pietro, Maria Mascolo, Francesco Falaschi, William Brambilla, Ron Ruzga, Silvia Mongodi, Stefano Perlini, Tiziano Perrone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Recently, some attempts have been made to integrate lung ultrasound (LUS) teaching into medical curricula. However, current education studies of LUS are extremely heterogeneous due to the lack of evidence-based guidelines on LUS education. In particular, the assessment of competencies is poorly standardized and mostly relies on non-validated scales. A new validated tool, the objective structured assessment of lung ultrasound skills (LUS-OSAUS), has the potential to overcome these limitations. Therefore, we adopted the LUS-OSAUS tool to assess the competencies of a group of LUS-trained undergraduates. Existing no prior practical applications of the LUS-OSAUS, our aim was to investigate the practical utility of this tool and its applicability in the evaluation of US-trained medical students. Methods: Eight undergraduates (two males, six females) were enrolled on a voluntary basis to receive a theoretical and practical training in LUS. Once completed their training, each student performed an LUS examination on a different patient hospitalized for respiratory symptoms. The same eight patients were also scanned by a senior resident in emergency medicine for a comparison with students’ results. Students and the senior resident were tested by an examiner using the LUS-OSAUS tool. We compared the scores obtained by operators in all areas of competence of the LUS-OSAUS, the total scores, and the time needed to complete the sonographic task. Results: Median students’ score in the single items of the scale was significantly lower than the ones obtained by the senior resident (4.0 [3.3–5.0] vs. 5.0 [5.0–5.0]; p < 0.0001). Students scored significantly lower than the senior resident in each item, except for B-line identification, choice of the correct transducer, and suggested focused questions. Median total score was also lower for students compared to the senior resident (70.5 [61.0–74.8] vs. 84.0 [83.5–84.3] (p = 0.0116). Median time required to complete the examination was significantly higher for students (14.1 [12.8–16.1] vs. 4.7 [3.9–5.2] min, p = 0.0117). Conclusions: The LUS-OSAUS tool allowed for a standardized and comprehensive assessment of student’s competencies in lung ultrasound, and helped to discriminate their level of expertise from that of a more experienced operator. The scale also specifically tests the theoretical knowledge of trainees, thus making redundant the use of questionnaires designed for this purpose.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Ultrasound
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Lung ultrasound for undergraduates
  • Lung-ultrasound assessment of competence
  • Point-of-care ultrasound for undergraduates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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