Emergency Physicians Are Able to Detect Right Ventricular Dilation With Good Agreement Compared to Cardiology

Matt A. Rutz, Julie M. Clary, Jeffrey A. Kline, Frances M. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Focused cardiac ultrasound (FOCUS) is a useful tool in evaluating patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with acute dyspnea. Prior work has shown that right ventricular (RV) dilation is associated with repeat hospitalizations and shorter life expectancy. Traditionally, RV assessment has been evaluated by cardiologist-interpreted comprehensive echocardiography. The primary goal of this study was to determine the inter-rater reliability between emergency physicians (EPs) and a cardiologist for determining RV dilation on FOCUS performed on ED patients with acute dyspnea. Methods: This was a prospective, observational study at two urban academic EDs; patients were enrolled if they had acute dyspnea and a computed tomographic pulmonary angiogram without acute disease. All patients had an EP-performed FOCUS to assess for RV dilation. RV dilation was defined as an RV to left ventricular ratio greater than 1. FOCUS interpretations were compared to a blinded cardiologist FOCUS interpretation using agreement and kappa statistics. Results: Of 84 FOCUS examinations performed on 83 patients, 17% had RV dilation. Agreement and kappa, for EP-performed FOCUS for RV dilation were 89% (95% confidence interval [CI] 80–95%) and 0.68 (95% CI 0.48–0.88), respectively. Conclusions: Emergency physician sonographers are able to detect RV dilation with good agreement when compared to cardiology. These results support the wider use of EP-performed FOCUS to evaluate for RV dilation in ED patients with dyspnea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)867-874
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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