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1.  Assessment of cardiac pathology by point-of-care ultrasonography performed by a novice examiner is comparable to the gold standard 
Background
The aim of the study was to compare the diagnostic accuracy of point-of-care cardiac ultrasonography performed by a novice examiner against results from a specialist in cardiology with expert skills in echocardiography, with regard to the assessment of six clinically relevant cardiac conditions in a population of ward patients from the Department of Cardiology or the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery.
Methods
Cardiac ultrasonography was performed by a novice examiner at the bedside and images were interpreted in a point-of-care context with dichotomous outcomes (yes/no). Six outcome categories were defined: 1) pericardial effusion (≥10 mm), 2) left ventricular dilatation (≥62 mm), 3) right ventricular dilatation (≥42 mm or ≥ left ventricular diameter), 4) left ventricular hypertrophy (≥13 mm), 5) left ventricular failure (EF ≤ 40%), 6) aortic stenosis (maximum flow velocity ≥3 m/s). The examiner was blinded to the patients’ medical history and results from previous echocardiographic examinations. Results from the interpreted point-of-care ultrasonography examination were compared with echocardiographic diagnosis made by a specialist in cardiology.
Results
A total of 102 medical and surgical patients were included. Assessments were made in six categories totalling 612 assessments. There was agreement between the novice examiner and the specialist in 95.6% of the cases; overall sensitivity was 0.91 and specificity was 0.97. Positive predictive value was 0.92 and negative predictive value was 0.97. Kappa statistics showed good agreement between observers (κ=0.88).
Conclusions
This study showed that a novice examiner was able to detect common and significant heart pathology in six different categories with good accuracy using POC ultrasonography.
doi:10.1186/1757-7241-21-87
PMCID: PMC3866928  PMID: 24330752
Point-of-care; Ultrasonography; Echocardiography; Bedside; Heart disease
2.  Systolic heart function remains depressed for at least 30 days after on-pump cardiac surgery 
OBJECTIVES
The myocardial recovery time following on-pump cardiac surgery remains uncertain. Global peak longitudinal strain is a sensitive measure of endocardial function which is most susceptible to ischaemia. We aimed to evaluate changes in global peak longitudinal strain up to 6 months after surgery and to compare initial changes with alterations in troponin T. Secondarily, we aimed to describe perioperative changes in strain of the inter-ventricular septum when compared with reference segments.
METHODS
Patients scheduled for coronary bypass, aortic valve replacement or combination procedures were enrolled. Echocardiography was performed on the day before surgery, the day after surgery, 4 days after surgery, 30 days after surgery and 6 months after surgery. Troponin T was measured 3, 16 and 24 h following procedure.
RESULTS
Forty patients were enrolled and one was later excluded. Global peak longitudinal strain decreased from −14.5 ± 3.33% preoperatively to −9.98 ± 3.09% and −10.57 ± 3.16% on the first and fourth postoperative day, respectively. Global strain was still reduced on the 30th postoperative day, but had returned to preoperative values 6 months after surgery. Absolute values and relative changes in global strain did not correlate with postoperative peak troponin T measurements. Strain of the inter-ventricular septum was unaffected by surgery as opposed to reference segments, although septal displacement in the longitudinal direction decreased from 12.0 ± 3.75 mm preoperatively to 3.58 ± 4.22 mm 4 days after surgery.
CONCLUSIONS
Global peak longitudinal strain was reduced for at least 30 days after on-pump cardiac surgery and seems to represent a more sensitive marker of myocardial function than ejection fraction. The decrease in global strain was not reflected in troponin T measurements. The visual, echocardiographic impression of septal dysfunction may be a translational phenomenon, as septal strain was unaffected by surgery.
doi:10.1093/icvts/ivs253
PMCID: PMC3422956  PMID: 22685027
Thoracic surgery; Echocardiography; Ischaemia reperfusion injury; Ventricular septum; Troponin T
3.  Echocardiographic Measures of Diastolic Function Are Preload Dependent during Triggered Positive Pressure Ventilation: A Controlled Crossover Study in Healthy Subjects 
Background. The use of echocardiography in intensive care settings impacts decision making. A prerequisite for the use of echocardiography is relative resistance to changes in volume status and levels of positive pressure ventilation (PPV). Studies on indices of diastolic function report conflicting results with regard to dependence on volume status. Evidence is scarce on PPV. Methods. Ten healthy subjects were exposed to 6 levels of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) and pressure support (PS) following a baseline reading. All ventilator settings were performed at three positions: horizontal, reverse-Trendelenburg, and Trendelenburg. Echocardiography was performed throughout. Results. During spontaneous breathing, early diastolic transmitral velocity (E) changed with positioning (P < 0.001), whereas early diastolic velocity of the mitral annulus (e′) was independent (P = 0.263). With PPV, E and e′ proved preload dependent (P   values < 0.001). Increases in PEEP, PS, or a combination influenced E and e′ in reverse-Trendelenburg- and horizontal positions, but not in the Trendelenburg position. Discussion. The change towards preload dependency of e′ with PPV suggests that PPV increases myocardial preload sensitivity. The susceptibility of E and e′ to preload changes during PPV discourages their use in settings of volume shifts or during changes in ventilator settings. Conclusion. Positioning and PPV affect E and e′.
doi:10.1155/2012/703196
PMCID: PMC3463162  PMID: 23050132
4.  Limited intervention improves technical skill in focus assessed transthoracic echocardiography among novice examiners 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:65.
Background
Previous studies addressing teaching and learning in point-of-care ultrasound have primarily focussed on image interpretation and not on the technical quality of the images. We hypothesized that a limited intervention of 10 supervised examinations would improve the technical skills in Focus Assessed Transthoracic Echocardiography (FATE) and that physicians with no experience in FATE would quickly adopt technical skills allowing for image quality suitable for interpretation.
Methods
Twenty-one physicians with no previous training in FATE or echocardiography (Novices) participated in the study and a reference group of three examiners with more than 10 years of experience in echocardiography (Experts) was included. Novices received an initial theoretical and practical introduction (2 hours), after which baseline examinations were performed on two healthy volunteers. Subsequently all physicians were scheduled to a separate intervention day comprising ten supervised FATE examinations. For effect measurement a second examination (evaluation) of the same two healthy volunteers from the baseline examination was performed.
Results
At baseline 86% of images obtained by novices were suitable for interpretation, on evaluation this was 93% (p = 0.005). 100% of images obtained by experts were suitable for interpretation. Mean global image rating on baseline examinations was 70.2 (CI 68.0-72.4) and mean global image rating after intervention was 75.0 (CI 72.9-77.0), p = 0.0002. In comparison, mean global image rating in the expert group was 89.8 (CI 88.8-90.9).
Conclusions
Improvement of technical skills in FATE can be achieved with a limited intervention and upon completion of intervention 93% of images achieved are suitable for clinical interpretation.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-65
PMCID: PMC3477018  PMID: 22863138
Point-of-care; Bedside; Ultrasound; Echocardiography; Learning

Results 1-5 (5)