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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.
Heart murmurs are common in children and may represent congenital or acquired cardiac pathology. Auscultation is challenging and many primary-care physicians lack the skill to differentiate innocent from pathologic murmurs. We sought to determine whether computer-aided auscultation (CardioscanTM) identifies which children require referral to a cardiologist.
We consecutively enrolled children aged between 0 and 17 years with a murmur, innocent or pathologic, being evaluated in a tertiary-care cardiology clinic. Children being evaluated for the first time and patients with known cardiac pathology were eligible. We excluded children who had undergone cardiac surgery previously or were unable to sit still for auscultation. CardioscanTM auscultation was performed in a quiet room with the subject in the supine position. The sensitivity and specificity of a potentially pathologic murmur designation by CardioscanTM – that is, requiring referral – was determined using echocardiography as the reference standard.
We enrolled 126 subjects (44% female) with a median age of 1.7 years, with 93 (74%) having cardiac pathology. The sensitivity and specificity of a potentially pathologic murmur determination by CardioscanTM for identification of cardiac pathology were 83.9 and 30.3%, respectively, versus 75.0 and 71.4%, respectively, when limited to subjects with a heart rate of 50–120 beats per minute. The combination of a CardioscanTM potentially pathologic murmur designation or an abnormal electrocardiogram improved sensitivity to 93.5%, with no haemodynamically significant lesions missed.
Sensitivity of CardioscanTM when interpreted in conjunction with an abnormal electrocardiogram was high, although specificity was poor. Re-evaluation of computer-aided auscultation will remain necessary as advances in this technology become available.
Echocardiography is the diagnostic test of choice for latent rheumatic heart disease. The utility of echocardiography for large-scale screening is limited by high cost, complex diagnostic protocols, and time to acquire multiple images. We evaluated the performance of a brief hand-held echocardiography protocol and computer-assisted auscultation in detecting latent rheumatic heart disease with or without pathological murmur.
A total of 27 asymptomatic patients with latent rheumatic heart disease based on the World Heart Federation criteria and 66 healthy controls were examined by standard cardiac auscultation to detect pathological murmur. Hand-held echocardiography using a focussed protocol that utilises one view – that is, the parasternal long-axis view – and one measurement – that is, mitral regurgitant jet – and a computer-assisted auscultation utilising an automated decision tool were performed on all patients.
The sensitivity and specificity of computer-assisted auscultation in latent rheumatic heart disease were 4% (95% CI 1.0–20.4%) and 93.7% (95% CI 84.5–98.3%), respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of the focussed hand-held echocardiography protocol for definite rheumatic heart disease were 92.3% (95% CI 63.9–99.8%) and 100%, respectively. The test reliability of hand-held echocardiography was 98.7% for definite and 94.7% for borderline disease, and the adjusted diagnostic odds ratios were 1041 and 263.9 for definite and borderline disease, respectively.
Computer-assisted auscultation has extremely low sensitivity but high specificity for pathological murmur in latent rheumatic heart disease. Focussed hand-held echocardiography has fair sensitivity but high specificity and diagnostic utility for definite or borderline rheumatic heart disease in asymptomatic patients.
A problem facing doctors treating adults with congenitally malformed hearts is that a significant number of these patients are lost for follow-up. The purpose of our study is to describe the medical history and clinical findings in a group of such adults that was lost for follow-up.
Design, settings and patients
The Danish press ran a front-page story about adults with congenitally malformed hearts who were lost for follow-up. These patients were strongly advised to contact a center for congenital cardiac disease, and we examined all responding patients within four-weeks.
We carried out a structured interview, a clinical examination, echocardiography, and measured levels of N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide.
The number of responders was 147. Based on the diagnosis and the findings, further follow-up was scheduled for 52 (35.4%), either because of significant residual lesions, found in 32, or the risk of late complications, judged to be present in 20. Symptoms were present in 36.5% of patients scheduled for follow-up. The presence of a heart murmur was highly predictive of the need for further follow-up but the sensitivity was too low to recommend the use of auscultation as a screening test.
A large proportion of adults with congenitally malformed hearts who are lost for follow-up require regular assessment according to a modern standard. Symptoms, signs, and measurement of natriuretic peptide cannot replace full cardiological assessment. It is a challenge for centres treating adults with congenital heart disease to find the lost group of patient with significant cardiac malformations.
Blood pressure (BP) in the out-of-hospital setting is one of the most important diagnostic tools used by emergency medical services (EMS) providers. Conventional methods of palpation and auscultation can be time consuming, and the measurements often are inaccurate because of the adverse working conditions encountered. Pulse oximetry waveform systolic blood pressure (POWSBP) measurement has been used successfully in emergency departments to monitor BP. The objective of this study was to compare the accuracy of field POWSBP measurements obtained by noninvasive electronic BP measurement (NIBPM), auscultation, and palpation in the out-of-hospital environment.
Blood pressure measurements used for this study were obtained by POWSBP, NIBPM (PROPAQ model 102; Protocol Systems, Beaverton, Oregon USA), auscultation, and palpation on patients in moving ambulances. Measurement of POWSBP was accomplished by observing the return of the waveform on the pulse oximeter at the time of cuff deflation. The order in which the readings were obtained as well as the arm chosen for measurement were randomized.
Setting and participants:
Paramedics and emergency medical technicians in an urban, inner-city emergency medical services (EMS) system.
Measurements and main results:
Bloopressure measurements were sampled from 69 patients. Regression analysis identified significant correlation between POWSBP and the four methods utilized, with r = 0.92 for NIPBM, r = 0.95 for auscultation, and r = 0.97 for palpation, all significant at p<0.0001.
The use of POWSBP measurement is a fast, easy, and accurate technique with which to measure systolic BP in the field. It may have special importance for noisy environments and moving vehicles in which conventional methods of auscultation or palpation may be difficult.
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