The aim of this study was to assess the usefulness of a pocket-size imaging device in the hands of a noncardiologist as a screening tool for diagnosing aortic stenosis in individuals with newly discovered systolic murmur.
Methods and results
A total of 200 consecutive patients with systolic murmur were included; a limited focused cardiac ultrasound was performed with a pocket-size imaging device and compared to standard echocardiography. It was performed by a noncardiologist with no formal training in echocardiography. In all, 150 patients had morphological changes on the aortic valve, 77 had more than mild aortic stenosis, 30 had more than mild mitral regurgitation, 64 patients had more than moderate hypertrophy, 113 had more than moderately enlarged left atriums, and 3 had severely enlarged left ventricles. There were no significant difference in recognizing severe changes between Vscan focused cardiac ultrasound and comprehensive echocardiography.
Pocket-size ultrasound imaging devices without continuous and pulse wave Doppler modalities can, even in the hands of a noncardiologist with limited cardiac ultrasound instructions with high sensitivity and specificity, be a useful tool for detecting more than mild aortic stenosis and more than mild mitral regurgitation. As such a focused cardiac ultrasound can be an extension of physical examinations for patients with newly discovered systolic murmur.