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Stethoscope allows scan-free PAD diagnosis

GPs can use a stethoscope to measure ankle-brachial index when diagnosing peripheral arterial disease in the absence of a Doppler scanner, say Italian researchers.

In a study of 88 patients assessed with both methods there was a good correlation in the results, with a sensitivity of 71.4% and specificity of 91%.

The positive predictive value of use of the stethoscope was 62.5% and the negative predictive value was 93.8% with a study accuracy of 87.7%, leading the researchers to conclude it was a useful tool where access to a Doppler was limited.

Family Practice 2008 20 November early online publication

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