Aims: To study the reliability and feasibility of point-of-care pocket-sized echocardiography (POCKET) at the bedside in patients admitted to a medical department at a non-university hospital.
Methods and results: One hundred and eight patients were randomized to bedside POCKET examination shortly after admission and later high-end echocardiography (HIGH) in the echo-lab. The POCKET examinations were done by cardiologists on their ward rounds. Assessments of global and regional left ventricular (LV) function, right ventricular (RV) function, valvular function, left atrial (LA) size, the pericardium and pleura were done with respect to effusion and measurements of inferior vena cava (IVC) and abdominal aorta (AA) were performed. Correlations between POCKET and HIGH/appropriate radiological technique for LV function, AA size and presence of pericardial effusion were almost perfect, with r ≥ 0.92. Strong correlation (r ≥ 0.81) was shown for RV and valvular function, except for grading of aortic stenosis (r = 0.62). The correlations were substantial for IVC and LA dimensions. Median time used for bedside screening with POCKET was 4.2 min (range: 2.3-13.0). There was excellent feasibility for cardiac structures and pleura, which was assessed to satisfaction in ≥ 94% of patients. Lower feasibility (71-79%) was seen for the abdominal great vessels.
Conclusion: Point-of-care semi-quantitative evaluation of cardiac anatomy and function showed high feasibility and correlation with the reference method for most indices. Pocket-sized echocardiographic examinations of ∼4 min length, performed at the bedside by experts, offers reliable assessment of cardiac structures, the pleural space and the large abdominal vessels.
Clinical trial registration: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov; unique ID: NCT01081210.