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Can Junior Emergency Physicians Use E‐Point Septal Separation to Accurately Estimate Left Ventricular Function in Acutely Dyspneic Patients?

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ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2011; 18:1223–1226 © 2011 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Objectives:  The authors determined if E‐point septal separation (EPSS) as measured by junior emergency physicians (EPs) correlated with visual estimation of left ventricle ejection fraction (LVEF) by senior EPs and cardiologists in acutely dyspneic patients presenting to an adult emergency department (ED).

Methods:  Acutely dyspneic patients were enrolled in a prospective, observational study. EPSS was measured using bedside ultrasonography by junior EPs (PGY 3 and PGY 4 residents) with variable ultrasound experience. M‐mode measurements of EPSS were recorded in the parasternal long‐axis orientation and were calculated during diastole by measuring distance from the tip of the anterior mitral valve leaflet to the septal wall. LVEF was visually estimated at the bedside by emergency medicine (EM) ultrasound fellows and an EM ultrasound fellowship‐trained attending physician and was subsequently visually estimated by two cardiologists reviewing video clips obtained by the junior EPs. The correlation between EPSS and visually estimated LVEF was calculated.

Results:  Of the 58 patients, the median age was 63 years (range = 28 to 90 years) and 66% were women. Interobserver reliability between EPs and cardiologists for the visual estimation of LVEF was excellent (κ = 0.75). The correlation between measurements of EPSS by junior EPs and visual estimations of LVEF by the senior EPs was ρ = −0.844 (p < 0.001).

Conclusions:  In this study, junior EPs were able to obtain measurements of EPSS that correlated closely with visual estimates of LVEF by clinicians with extensive point‐of‐care and comprehensive echocardiography experience.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the Department of Emergency Medicine (MAS, MBS) and the Department of Cardiovascular Disease (JML, LAS), SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY.

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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