Background: Acute heart failure leads to high mortality and morbidity rates. The symptom of acute dyspnoea is non-specific and the diagnostic tools of acute heart failure are still not satisfactory. Tissue Doppler echocardiography is accurate in evaluating cardiac function; however, its efficacy in diagnosing patients with acute dyspnoea in emergency departments remains unclear.
Methods: Patients with acute dyspnoea were included prospectively while visiting the emergency department. Tissue Doppler echocardiography was carried out and the ratios of peak early diastolic transmitral blood flow velocity (E) to the peak early diastolic tissue velocity over mitral annulus (Ea) were recorded. The sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of tissue Doppler parameters and the receiver-operating characteristic curves for diagnosing acute heart failure were also evaluated.
Results: A total of 92 patients were enrolled. The ratio E:Ea was found to be a good diagnostic test to estimate the diagnostic performances of tissue Doppler echocardiography using receiver-operating characteristic curves in cases of acute heart failure in patients with preserved left ventricular systolic function (mean (SD) area under the curve = 0.875 (0.049); p<0.001; cut-off value = 11) and with left ventricular systolic dysfunction (mean (SD) area under the curve = 0.903 (0.061); p = 0.003; cut-off value = 16). E:Ea was an independent predictor of acute heart failure in multiple logistic regressions. For patients with a B-type natriuretic peptide level between 100 and 500 pg/ml, E:Ea provided an accuracy of 90.9% (p = 0.015) for diagnosing acute heart failure.
Conclusions: Tissue Doppler echocardiography is accurate in diagnosing patients with acute heart failure in emergency departments. It can be a useful supplementary diagnostic tool for patients with inconclusive blood B-type natriuretic peptide level.
- BNP, B-type natriuretic peptide
- LVEDP, left ventricular end-diastolic pressure
- LVEF, left ventricular ejection fraction
- ROC, receiver-operating characteristic
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Published Online First 27 June 2006
Competing interests: None.