Background: The hand-carried cardiac ultrasound (HCU) device is a recently introduced imaging device, which may be potentially useful in the primary care setting.
Aim: To test the screening potential of a HCU for the detection of left ventricular (LV) dysfunction by evaluating LV ejection fraction (LVEF) and inferior vena cava (IVC) collapse. Standard echocardiographic system (SE) and plasma brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) measurements were used as a reference.
Methods: Eighty-eight consecutive patients (56 male, aged 59+/-12 years) with suspected LV dysfunction were enrolled in the study. The HCU-LVEF was visually estimated and the SE-LVEF was derived by the Simpson's biplane method. A LVEF <40% represented LV dysfunction. An IVC collapse of <50% and BNP levels > or =15 pmol/l were considered abnormal. The correlation of HCU-LVEF, HCU-IVC and BNP to the SE-LVEF and SE-IVC was analysed independently using 2x2 tables.
Results: Six patients were excluded because of poor echo images. 19/82 patients had LV dysfunction. The HCU and BNP could identify 17 and 18 out of these 19 patients, respectively. The agreement for LVEF and IVC collapse between SE and HCU was 96% for both parameters. The sensitivity of IVC collapse, HCU-LVEF and BNP in identifying patients with LV dysfunction was 26, 89 and 94%, respectively.
Conclusion: A HCU device can reliably be used as a screening tool for LV dysfunction.