Focused Cardiac Ultrasound by Veterinary ER Personnel


CHF Grant: 2013 Clinician-Scientist Fellowship - Melanie Hezzell, VetMB, PhD; University of Pennsylvania

Publication: Hezzell MJ, Ostroski C, Oyama MA, Harries B, Drobatz KJ, Reineke EL. Investigation of focused cardiac ultrasound in the emergency room for differentiation of respiratory and cardiac causes of respiratory distress in dogs. J Vet Emerg Crit Care. 2020;1–6.     

What can we learn?
The goal of this study was to determine whether focused cardiac ultrasound performed by emergency and critical care specialists or residents in training improved differentiation of cardiac versus non-cardiac causes of respiratory distress in dogs compared to medical history and physical examination alone. Thirty-eight cases were examined in this prospective study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania. The proportions of dogs that were correctly classified as cardiac or non-cardiac before and after focused cardiac ultrasound were not significantly different. However, three cases were re-categorized correctly following focused cardiac ultrasound.

Conclusion - While focused cardiac ultrasound performed by emergency personnel may not statistically improve the ability to differentiate cardiac versus non-cardiac respiratory distress, it remains a non-invasive and easy to use tool that may assist diagnostic accuracy.

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