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Rev Esp Cardiol. 2003 May;56(5):480-6.

[Comparison of echocardiographic studies made with new portable devices to conventional studies].

[Article in Spanish]

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Laboratorio de Cardiología No Invasiva. Servicio de Cardiología. Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón. Madrid. España.



The latest development in echocardiography is the hand-held ultrasound device. Previous studies have shown that portable ultrasound devices detect major cardiovascular pathology better than the physical examination, but their diagnostic accuracy is still not known. The purpose of this study was to compare the results of examinations made with portable devices to those obtained with higher-scale platforms.


211 consecutive unselected patients were included in the study. Patients were randomly studied with a portable device and a standard platform (considered the gold standard for comparison) by cardiologists experienced in echocardiography. Parameters of cardiac morphology and function, and valvular regurgitation were compared and analyzed using the McNemar paired test. Differences of more than one grade were considered major differences.


The subjective assessment of the studies made with the portable device was significantly worse. The correlation between estimates of left ventricular function (differences not statistically significant) was adequate, but significant differences were detected in the evaluation of left atrial enlargement, left ventricular hypertrophy, aortic root enlargement, and mitral and tricuspid regurgitation.


Hand-held cardiac ultrasound devices do not satisfy criteria for a complete echocardiographic study. They provide accurate information about ventricular function but fail to adequately measure cardiac chambers or assess valve function.

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