BMC neurology 2017 08 1117(1) 159 doi 10.1186/s12883-017-0937-8
Standard echocardiography (SE) is an essential part of the routine diagnostic work-up after ischemic stroke (IS) and also serves for research purposes. However, access to SE is often limited. We aimed to assess feasibility and accuracy of point-of-care (POC) echocardiography in a stroke unit (SU) setting.
IS patients were recruited on the SU of the University Hospital Würzburg, Germany. Two SU team members were trained in POC echocardiography for a three-month period to assess a set of predefined cardiac parameters including left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). Diagnostic agreement was assessed by comparing POC with SE executed by an expert sonographer, and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) or kappa (κ) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated.
In the 78 patients receiving both POC and SE agreement for cardiac parameters was good, with ICC varying from 0.82 (95% CI 0.71-0.89) to 0.93 (95% CI 0.87-0.96), and κ from 0.39 (-95% CI 0.14-0.92) to 0.79 (95% CI 0.67-0.91). Detection of systolic dysfunction with POC echocardiography compared to SE was very good, with an area under the curve of 0.99 (0.96-1.00). Interrater agreement for LVEF measured by POC echocardiography was good with κ 0.63 (95% CI 0.40-0.85).
POC echocardiography in a SU setting is feasible enabling reliable quantification of LVEF and preliminary assessment of selected cardiac parameters that might be used for research purposes. Its potential clinical utility in triaging stroke patients who should undergo or do not necessarily require SE needs to be investigated in larger prospective diagnostic studies.