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Ital Heart J Suppl. 2000 Jul;1(7):905-9.

[Appropriateness of referral to the emergency department through a telecardiology service. "Boario Home-Care" researchers].

[Article in Italian]

Author information

  • 1Divisione di Cardiologia, Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, IRCCS, Centro Medico, Gussago (BS).



The use of telemedicine appears particularly promising in cardiovascular diseases; it may reduce the decisional time during an acute myocardial infarction, which is the greater part of the so-called "avoidable delay" and the inappropriate admission to the Emergency Department with the possibility of ruling out an acute pathology. The aim of our study was to show the diagnostic accuracy of a telecardiology service in the daily activity of general practitioners.


From February 1998 to February 1999, 150 general practitioners received a portable electrocardiographer (Card-Guard 7100) transferring, by a mobile or fixed telephone, a 12-lead ECG to a receiving station, where a cardiologist was available for the reporting and interactive teleconsultation.


During 1 year 3456 calls took place. At the time of the ECG recording 44% of patients were symptomatic. Chest pain was present in 669 patients (44%), dyspnea in 21%, palpitation in 18%, dizziness in 7%, and asthenia in 13%. ECG and teleconsultation solved all the problems for 2452 patients (71%) and further diagnostic tests were requested in 862 patients (25%); 142 patients (4%) were sent to the Emergency Department. Cardiological diagnosis was confirmed in 95 patients (73%), while anxiety or gastritis were presumed in 35 patients (27%). In the group of patients (n = 3314) for whom the cardiologist solved the problem without admission to the Emergency Department, there were 5 patients who were admitted to the Emergency Department for myocardial ischemia in the following 48 hours after the teleconsultation. Telecardiology service showed versus Emergency Department admission a sensitivity of 95%, a specificity of 97.5%, and a diagnostic accuracy of 92.5%.


These data confirm a good diagnostic value to the service and a useful support to the general practitioners' activity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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