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Heart's sounds can help diagnose heart failure
Date:8/10/2010

CINCINNATIFor emergency department patients with shortness of breath and a risk of heart failure, physicians usually grab one thing first: a stethoscope.

It allows them to hear the S3, an abnormal third sound in the heart's rhythm strongly associated with cardiac disease and heart failure. However, the low-frequency, low-pitch sound is notoriously very difficult to hear with a stethoscope alone.

In a study available online in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, a UC emergency medicine physician concludes that acoustic cardiography, a new technology combining a 12-leed ECG with cardiac acoustic data, can aid physicians in detecting the S3ultimately increasing the accurate diagnosis of acute heart failure in certain subsets of patients.

The study involved analyzing data from one of the largest emergency department-based trials in acute heart failure, the HEart failure and Audicor technology for Rapid Diagnosis and Initial Treatment (HEARD-IT) multinational trial. The trial, conducted at nine sites from March to October 2006, measured the diagnostic accuracy provided by adding acoustic cardiography to an emergency medicine physician's tools.

"The S3 is highly associated with heart failure," says Sean Collins, MD, UC emergency medicine associate professor and lead author of the study. "So we studied how measuring the presence of the S3 changed physicians' impressions of what was going on, how it potentially changed their workup and treatment for patients."

In this publication, Collins and his colleagues conducted a secondary analysis on the HEARD-IT results, focusing on specific subgroups of patients presenting a harder diagnostic puzzle. Those include obese patients, patients with kidney failure and patients with an intermediate level of b-type natriuretic peptide, a biomarker which has been associated with acute heart failure and cardiovascular risk.

They found that adding acoustic cardiography
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Contact: Katy Cosse
kathryn.cosse@uc.edu
513-558-0207
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Source:Eurekalert

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