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Challenges remain in the judgement of pathological murmurs in newborns at maternity hospitals, and there are still many simple major CHD patients in developing countries who are not diagnosed in a timely fashion. This study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of cardiac auscultation on neonatal CHD by general paediatricians.
We conducted a prospective study at three hospitals. All asymptomatic newborns underwent auscultation, pulse oximetry monitoring, and echocardiography. Major CHD was classified and confirmed through follow-up. We evaluated the accuracy of various degrees of murmurs for detecting major CHD to determine the most appropriate standards and time of auscultation.
A total of 6750 newborns were included. The median age of auscultation was 43 hours. Cardiac murmurs were identified in 6.6% of newborns. For all CHD, 44.4% had varying degrees of murmurs. A murmur of grade ≥2 used as a reference standard for major CHD had a sensitivity of 89.58%. The false positive rate of murmurs of grade ≥2 for detecting major CHD was significantly negatively related to auscultation time, with 84.4% of false positives requiring follow-up for non-major CHD cardiac issues. Auscultation after 27 hours of life could reduce the false positive rate of major CHD from 2.7 to 0.9%.
With appropriate training, maternity hospital’s paediatricians can detect major CHD with high detection rates with an acceptable false positive rate.