Introduction: In the emergency setting, focused cardiac ultrasound has become a fundamental tool for diagnostic, initial emergency treatment and triage decisions. A new ultra-miniaturized pocket ultrasound device (PUD) may be suited to this specific setting. Therefore, we aimed to compare the diagnostic ability of an ultra-miniaturized ultrasound device (Vscan™, GE Healthcare, Wauwatosa, WI) and of a conventional high-quality echocardiography system (Vivid S5™, GE Healthcare) for a cardiac focused ultrasonography in patients admitted to the emergency department.
Methods: During 4 months, patients admitted to our emergency department and requiring transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) were included in this single-center, prospective and observational study. Patients underwent TTE using a PUD and a conventional echocardiography system. Each examination was performed independently by a physician experienced in echocardiography, unaware of the results found by the alternative device. During the focused cardiac echocardiography, the following parameters were assessed: global cardiac systolic function, identification of ventricular enlargement or hypertrophy, assessment for pericardial effusion and estimation of the size and the respiratory changes of the inferior vena cava (IVC) diameter.
Results: One hundred fifty-one (151) patients were analyzed. With the tested PUD, the image quality was sufficient to perform focused cardiac ultrasonography in all patients. Examination using PUD adequately qualified with a very good agreement global left ventricular systolic dysfunction (κ = 0.87; 95%CI: 0.76-0.97), severe right ventricular dilation (κ = 0.87; 95%CI: 0.71-1.00), inferior vena cava dilation (κ = 0.90; 95%CI: 0.80-1.00), respiratory-induced variations in inferior vena cava size in spontaneous breathing (κ = 0.84; 95%CI: 0.71-0.98), pericardial effusion (κ = 0.75; 95%CI: 0.55-0.95) and compressive pericardial effusion (κ = 1.00; 95%CI: 1.00-1.00).
Conclusions: In an emergency setting, this new ultraportable echoscope (PUD) was reliable for the real-time detection of focused cardiac abnormalities.