Handheld echocardiography offers rapid assessment of clinical volume status.

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Handheld echocardiography offers rapid assessment of clinical volume status.

Am Heart J. 2008 Sep;156(3):537-42

Authors: Nguyen VT, Ho JE, Ho CY, Givertz MM, Stevenson LW

BACKGROUND: Assessment of volume status is vital for successful management of patients in heart failure (HF) programs. Bedside determination of elevated left-sided filling pressure (LFP) can be challenging and frequently inaccurate; therefore, incorporating technology such as handheld echocardiography, to aid in estimation of LFP, may improve patient care. In this study, we evaluated the feasibility and accuracy of handheld echocardiography by a nonexpert for potential use in the point of care evaluation of compensation. METHODS: Subjects were recruited from the HF clinic or inpatient service at a single center. Each subject underwent a focused handheld transthoracic echocardiogram by a medical resident trained for 10 hours. Subjects were assigned to 1 of 4 filling patterns (1 = normal, 2 = abnormal relaxation, 3 = pseudonormal, 4 = restrictive) based on measurements by pulsed wave and tissue Doppler. A 3-step echocardiography test for congestion in HF (TEC-HF) was devised for estimation of LFP. The gold standard for determining elevated LFP was clinical evaluation by a HF specialist, who classified subjects as being euvolemic or hypervolemic. RESULTS: A total of 100 consecutive subjects (72% male) were recruited, with average age of 60 years and left ventricular ejection fraction of 27%. All subjects had evaluable echocardiographic data. Based on TEC-HF, filling patterns 3 and 4 predicted hypervolemia and patterns 1 and 2 predicted euvolemia, with sensitivity and specificity of 86% and 92%, respectively, and positive and negative predictive values of 86% and 92%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Applying TEC-HF with handheld echocardiography accurately reflects clinical LFP as assessed by HF specialists. This procedure was easily taught to nonexpert medical staff who obtained adequate images in all patients. Handheld echocardiography could be a useful tool for assessing volume status in nonspecialized community settings.

PMID: 18760138 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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