The utility of pocket-sized echocardiography to assess left ventricular systolic function prior to permanent pacemaker implantation

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Lau, Lawrence
Ducas, Robin
Rizkallah, Jacques
Jassal, Davinder S
Seifer, Colette M
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Abstract Background A subset of patients receiving first-time permanent pacemakers (PPM) may also benefit from an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) based on the presence of left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD). Routine screening using pocket-sized echocardiography (PSE) may be useful in identifying such patients. Objective To determine whether PSE can be used by an inexperienced sonographer to adequately screen for LVSD in a patient population receiving a first-time PPM. Methods A sonographic trainee (medical student) acquired images using PSE, which were then evaluated by an experienced echocardiologist for both image quality and presence of LVSD. The sensitivity and specificity of assessment by the inexperienced sonographer was compared to the level 3 echocardiologist. Results The patient population included 71 individuals (66% male, mean age 77 ± 12 years). Interpretable images where left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) could be adequately assessed were obtained in 93% of the patient population. As compared with the echocardiologist, the sonographic trainee had a sensitivity of 60% and a specificity of 98% in detecting LVSD. Conclusions For patients receiving first-time PPM, the use of PSE by a sonographic trainee combined with interpretation by an experienced imaging cardiologist can triage for the need to perform standard transthoracic echocardiography (sTTE) by determining the presence of LVSD.
Cardiovascular Ultrasound. 2015 Mar 14;13(1):10