Limited bedside echocardiography by emergency physicians for diagnosis of diastolic heart failure

Erol Erden Unlüer, Serdar Bayata, Nursen Postaci, Murat Yeşil, Özcan Yavaşi, Pinar Hanife Kara, Nergis Vandenberk, Serhat Akay
Emergency Medicine Journal: EMJ 2012, 29 (4): 280-3

INTRODUCTION: The identification of diastolic heart failure (DHF) is important for determining the prognosis of congestive heart failure patients. This study attempted to determine the accuracy of emergency physicians who performed bedside echocardiography (BECH) in patients with diastolic dysfunction.

METHODS: Three attending emergency physicians underwent 3 h of didactic and 3 h of hands-on training taught by a cardiology specialist for the echocardiographic diagnostic criteria of DHF. Between February and April 2010, the emergency physicians performed BECH for patients presenting with dyspnoea, and echocardiographic views were recorded. Our gold standard for the diagnosis of diastolic dysfunction was the cardiologists' echocardiography report. Results were compared with χ(2) testing.

RESULTS: Of the 69 enrolled patients, 51 were diagnosed as having diastolic dysfunction by emergency physicians. The sensitivity of BECH was 89% (77-95) and specificity was 80% (51-95) with 95% CI. The accuracy of the emergency physicians' echocardiographic diagnosis was 87%.

CONCLUSION: BECH performed by emergency physicians may serve as an objective, rapid, non-invasive tool in the assessment of patients presenting with dyspnoea in ED.

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