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1.  The accuracy of the physical examination for the detection of lower extremity peripheral arterial disease 
The Canadian Journal of Cardiology  2010;26(10):e346-e350.
BACKGROUND:
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a major risk factor for adverse cardiovascular events. There has been a definite push for wider use of the ankle-brachial index (ABI) as a simple screening tool for PAD. Perhaps this has occurred to the detriment of a thorough physical examination.
OBJECTIVE:
To assess the accuracy of the physical examination to detect clinically significant PAD compared with the ABI.
METHODS:
PADfile, the PAD module of CARDIOfile (the Kingston Heart Clinic’s cardiology database [Kingston, Ontario]), was searched for all patients who underwent peripheral arterial testing. Of 1619 patients, 1236 had all of the necessary data entered. Patients’ lower limbs were divided into two groups: those with a normal ABI between 0.91 and 1.30, and those with an abnormal ABI of 0.90 or lower. Peripheral pulses were graded as either absent or present. Absent was graded as 0/3, present but reduced (1/3), normal (2/3) or bounding (3/3). Femoral bruits were graded as either present (1) or absent (0). Using the ABI as the gold standard, the sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value (NPV), positive predictive value and overall accuracy were calculated for the dorsalis pedis pulse, the posterior tibial pulse, both pedal pulses, the presence or absence of a femoral bruit and, finally, for a combination of both pedal pulses and the presence or absence of a femoral bruit.
RESULTS:
In 1236 patients who underwent PAD testing and who underwent a complete peripheral vascular physical examination (all dorsalis pedis and posterior tibial pulses palpated and auscultation for a femoral bruit), the sensitivity, specificity, NPV, positive predictive value and accuracy for PAD were 58.2%, 98.3%, 94.9%, 81.1% and 93.8%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS:
The clinical examination of the peripheral arterial foot pulses and the auscultation for a femoral bruit had a high degree of accuracy (93.8%) for the detection or exclusion of PAD compared with the ABI using the cut-off of 0.90 or lower. If both peripheral foot pulses are present in both lower limbs and there are no femoral bruits, the specificity and NPV of 98.3% and 94.9%, respectively, make the measurement of the ABI seem redundant. The emphasis in PAD detection should be redirected toward encouraging a thorough physical examination.
PMCID: PMC3006105  PMID: 21165366
Ankle-brachial index; Peripheral arterial disease; Physical examination
2.  Estimated right ventricular systolic pressure during exercise stress echocardiography in patients with suspected coronary artery disease 
OBJECTIVE:
To determine the normal range of estimated right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) at peak exercise during exercise stress echocardiography (ExECHO) in a series of consecutive patients referred for the investigation of coronary artery disease.
METHODS:
Of 1057 ExECHO examinations over a span of 11 months, 807 met the study criteria. A total of 250 patients were excluded, 188 for missing rest or peak RVSP measurements, 16 for a resting RVSP above 50 mmHg, 16 for nondiagnostic echocardiographic images and the remaining 30 for missing data. The maximal tricuspid regurgitant jet was recorded at rest and following acquisition of the stress images (mean [± SD] time 103.1±35.2 s). A mean right atrial pressure of 10 mmHg was used in the calculation of RVSP. All data were entered into a cardiology database (CARDIOfile; Registered trademark, Kingston Heart Clinic) for later retrieval and analysis.
RESULTS:
There were 206 male (58.9±12.0 years of age) and 601 female patients (57.4±12.0 years of age). Patient age ranged from 18 to 90 years. The mean resting and peak exercise RVSP was 27.8±7.8 mmHg and 34.8±11.3 mmHg in men, and 27.8±7.7 mmHg and 34.6±11.7 mmHg in women, respectively. The mean increase in RVSP was 7.0±8.8 mmHg in men and 6.7±8.9 mmHg in women. The 95% CI for peak RVSP was 12.2 mmHg to 57.4 mmHg in men, and 11.2 mmHg to 58.0 mmHg in women. There was no significant difference in peak RVSP for a normal ExECHO compared with an abnormal ExECHO. RVSP at rest and at peak exercise increased with both age and left atrial size.
CONCLUSIONS:
In individual patients, the RVSP should not increase above the resting value by more than 24.6 mmHg in men and 24.5 mmHg in women. This value was calculated as the increase in RVSP plus 2×SD of the RVSP. Peak RVSP should not exceed 57.4 mmHg in men and 58.0 mmHg in women. If either of these criteria is exceeded, the response of RVSP to exercise should be considered abnormal.
PMCID: PMC2851391  PMID: 20151058
Coronary artery disease; Right ventricular systolic pressure; Stress echocardiography
3.  Factors influencing the echocardiographic estimate of right ventricular systolic pressure in normal patients and clinically relevant ranges according to age 
BACKGOUND:
Previous studies have shown that in the absence of underlying cardiac pathology, the echocardiographic estimate of right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) increases progressively and normally with age. There are limited data in patients older than 60 years of age.
OBJECTIVE:
To define the ranges of RVSP according to age and to include more elderly patients than have previously been reported.
METHODS:
All patients undergoing echocardiography since May 26, 1999, at the Kingston Heart Clinic (Kingston, Ontario) have had their data entered into a locally designed cardiology database (CARDIOfile; Registered trademark, Kingston Heart Clinic). RVSP was calculated from the peak tricuspid regurgitant jet velocity (V) using the modified Bernoulli equation (RVSP = 4V2 + RAP), with the mean right atrial pressure (RAP) estimated to be 10 mmHg. Of the 22,628 patients who had undergone echocardiography, 10,905 had RVSP measured. All abnormal echocardiograms were excluded, leaving 1559 echocardiograms for analysis.
RESULTS:
Patient age ranged from 15 to 93 years. The mean age was 49 years. RVSP increased significantly only after the age of 50 years. The mean (± SD) RVSP for those younger than 50 years, 50 to 75 years, and older than 75 years of age was 27.3±5.7 mmHg, 30.2±7.6 mmHg and 34.8±8.7 mmHg, respectively (P<0.0001 among all age groups). The normal range (95% CI) of RVSP in those younger than 50 years, 50 to 75 years, and older than 75 years of age was 16 mmHg to 39 mmHg, 15 mmHg to 45 mmHg, and 17 mmHg to 52 mmHg, respectively. Multivariate analysis indicated that age, mitral diastolic early-to-late filling velocity ratio, ejection fraction, aortic size and early mitral filling velocity/early diastolic mitral annular velocity were the only significant independent variables. There were significant changes in diastolic function with increasing age, which may have been responsible for the changes in RVSP.
CONCLUSIONS:
RVSP remains stable in both men and women until the age of 50 years. Thereafter, RVSP increases progressively in a linear manner with age and is significantly higher in patients older than 75 years of age. The changes may relate to changes in diastolic function. These ranges should be taken into account when using echocardiogram-derived RVSP for the diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension in the absence of cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2851398  PMID: 20151056
Echocardiography; Pulmonary hypertension

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