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Research Note: Cardiac Ultrasonography for Detecting Occult Heart Disease in Cats


March 2020

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This prospective cohort study sought to evaluate whether the use of focused cardiac ultrasonography (FCU) performed by nonspecialist clinicians would improve the detection of occult heart disease in cats. Nonspecialist clinicians received FCU training via class, video, and hands-on practice. Cats (n = 289) were evaluated by a nonspecialist clinician via physical examination, which was sequentially followed by ECG, FCU, and point-of-care N-terminal proB-type natriuretic peptide assay. A board-certified cardiologist then conducted an evaluation of each cat, and levels of agreement between the nonspecialist clinician and specialist diagnoses were evaluated. Agreement between nonspecialist clinicians and cardiologists was increased significantly after FCU, particularly in cases of moderate and marked heart disease. It was determined that FCU is a feasible, helpful tool for nonspecialist clinicians, and further investigation of this technique is warranted.


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