ECG referrals vary
GPs vary 'widely' in their interpretation of ECGs and referral of patients for echocardiography, a study reports.
The researchers insisted most GP were capable of conducting initial heart failure screening with ECGs, but that the variation in referral rates would need to be considered by policymakers.
Only 57 per cent of GPs achieved a sensitivity of 90
per cent and a specificity of
50 per cent for the detection
of left ventricular systolic dysfunction.
Study leader Dr Barclay Goudie, senior clinical lecturer at the Tayside Centre for
General Practice in Dundee, said: 'Overall the screening
performance is satisfactory. But the quality of screening is
dependent on ECG reporting skill and varies between individual GPs.'
Dr Goudie suggested expanding access to BNP testing might achieve more uniform referral rates than using ECG.
Overall, sensitivity was 94 per cent and specificity 58 per cent, with a negative predictive value of 96 per cent, according to the study, published in the March issue of the British Journal of General Practice.