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Assessment of right ventricular size and function is an important part of the clinical cardiac evaluation; however, these quantitative measures are challenging by echocardiography. Automated software could be useful in place of manual measurements and qualitative assessment. This study evaluates a semi-automated software by comparing automated to manual measures in normal children.
Neonates to adolescents with normal echocardiograms were prospectively enrolled. Measurements were performed using manual techniques and semi-automated software (EchoInsight®, Epsilon Imaging, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America). Right ventricular measurements included end-diastolic and end-systolic area, fractional area change, chamber dimensions, and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion. Agreement between manual and semi-automated measures was compared.
Echocardiograms for 233 patients were included in the analysis. Intra- and inter-observer reliabilities for semi-automated measures were good with intraclass correlation coefficients all over 0.9 and 0.85, respectively. There was very strong correlation between manual and semi-automated methods for areas and dimensions (r = 0.93–0.99) and low bias (1.4–10.8%). For functional measures, tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion measures correlated well (r = 0.84), but fractional area change did not (r = 0.50). Both demonstrated significant bias (33.5–43.0%). The semi-automated method consistently underestimated fractional area change with a mean of 26.6% versus a manual mean of 36.1%.
The semi-automated software is capable of generating quantitative right ventricular measures in children with good reliability. The software demonstrates very good correlation and low bias when compared to manual methods for right ventricular areas and dimensions. There is a significant difference between manual and semi-automated techniques for the functional measures.
Surgery for CHD has been slow to develop in parts of the former Soviet Union. The impact of an 8-year surgical assistance programme between an emerging centre and a multi-disciplinary international team that comprised healthcare professionals from developed cardiac programmes is analysed and presented.
Material and methods
The international paediatric assistance programme included five main components – intermittent clinical visits to the site annually, medical education, biomedical engineering support, nurse empowerment, and team-based practice development. Data were analysed from visiting teams and local databases before and since commencement of assistance in 2007 (era A: 2000–2007; era B: 2008–2015). The following variables were compared between periods: annual case volume, operative mortality, case complexity based on Risk Adjustment for Congenital Heart Surgery (RACHS-1), and RACHS-adjusted standardised mortality ratio.
A total of 154 RACHS-classifiable operations were performed during era A, with a mean annual case volume by local surgeons of 19.3 at 95% confidence interval 14.3–24.2, with an operative mortality of 4.6% and a standardised mortality ratio of 2.1. In era B, surgical volume increased to a mean of 103.1 annual cases (95% confidence interval 69.1–137.2, p<0.0001). There was a non-significant (p=0.84) increase in operative mortality (5.7%), but a decrease in standardised mortality ratio (1.2) owing to an increase in case complexity. In era B, the proportion of local surgeon-led surgeries during visits from the international team increased from 0% (0/27) in 2008 to 98% (58/59) in the final year of analysis.
The model of assistance described in this report led to improved adjusted mortality, increased case volume, complexity, and independent operating skills.
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