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Pediatr Cardiol. 2006 Mar-Apr;27(2):234-7.

Accuracy of the initial evaluation of heart murmurs in neonates: do we need an echocardiogram?

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International Medical Center, P.O. Box 2172, Jeddah, 21451, Saudi Arabia.


The objective of this study was to determine the differences between neonatologists and pediatric cardiologists with regards to the initial assessment of neonatal heart murmur and to evaluate the role of echocardiography in this group of patients. During a period of 1 year, all neonates with heart murmur seen in pediatric cardiology consultation from neonatal intensive care units at the Children Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa General Hospital were included in this study. Neonates with heart murmur were initially evaluated clinically by a neonatologist and the most likely clinical diagnosis was recorded. This was followed by similar evaluation and assessment by the pediatric cardiologist, who did not know the result of the previous assessment. Echocardiography diagnosis was considered the gold standard for the accurate diagnosis in the two groups, and it was done for all patients. For the neonatologists, the sensitivity to detect a pathological murmur was 78% and the specificity was 33%; the positive predictive value was 77% and the negative predictive value was 37%. For the pediatric cardiologists, the accuracy of the clinical examination showed a sensitivity of 83% in detecting a pathological murmur and a specificity of 25%; the positive predictive value was 80% and the negative predictive value was 29%. There was no significant difference between the two groups. Certified neonatologists are able to assess the significance of neonatal heart murmurs well as pediatric cardiologists, although echocardiogram is still needed to reach the accurate diagnosis of congenital heart disease in neonates even if a pediatric cardiologist is consulted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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