Background: The association between COVID-19 infection and the cardiovascular system necessitates the use of an echocardiogram in this setting. Information on the utilization, safety, and quality of point-of-care cardiac and lung ultrasound using a hand-held device in these patients is scarce. Aims: To investigate the safety, technical aspects, quality indices, and interpretive accuracy of a hand-held echocardiogram in patients with COVID-19. Methods: From April-28 through July-27, 2020, consecutive patients with COVID-19 underwent hand-held echocardiogram and lung ultrasound evaluation (Vscan Extend™; GE Healthcare) within 48-h of admission. The operators recorded a series of technical parameters and graded individual experiences. The examinations were further analyzed by a blinded fellowship-trained echocardiographer for general quality, proper acquisition, and right ventricular (RV) demonstration. Results: Among 103 patients, 66 (64.1%) were male. Twenty-nine (28.2%) patients could not turn on their left side and 23 (22.3%) could not maintain effective communication. The mean length of each echocardiogram study was 8.5 ± 2.9 min, battery usage was 14 ± 5%, and mean operator-to-patient proximity was 59 ± 11 cm. Ninety-five (92.2%) examinations were graded as fair/good quality. A fair agreement was demonstrated between the operator and the echocardiographer for general ultrasound quality (Kappa = 0.329, p < 0.001). A fair-good correlation (r = 0.679, p < 0.001) and substantial agreement (Kappa = 0.612, p < 0.001) were demonstrated between the operator and echocardiographer for left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), whereas a fair agreement was demonstrated for RV systolic function (Kappa = 0.308, p = 0.002). LVEF agreement was also assessed using the Bland-Altman analysis revealing a mean bias of −0.96 (95% limits of agreement 9.43 to −11.35; p = 0.075). Conclusions: Among patients with COVID-19, echocardiography with a hand-held ultrasound is a safe and reasonable alternative for a complete formal study (<10% poor-quality indices). Echocardiogram assessment by the operators during the exam acquisition is reliable for LVEF, while RV systolic function should be subsequently offline reassessed.
- feasibility studies
- ventricular function