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Publications (5)14.07 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: To determine whether accurate remote echocardiographic diagnosis of congenital heart disease could be achieved using a low cost telemedicine system. Echocardiographic images obtained by a paediatrician from neonates suspected of having congenital heart disease were transmitted by a telemedicine link across two integrated service digital network (ISDN) lines to a regional paediatric cardiology unit for interpretation by a consultant paediatric cardiologist. The "tele-echo" diagnosis was verified by the paediatric cardiologist on direct consultation and echocardiography. Neonatal unit of Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry (a district general hospital) and the regional paediatric cardiology department, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. Accuracy of the diagnosis made using the telemedicine link; impact on patient management. Between September 1995 and September 1997 echocardiographic images were transmitted on 63 patients. A diagnosis was made in 61 (97%) (transmitted images were unsatisfactory in two). Congenital heart disease was diagnosed in 42 patients. Fourteen patients with major congenital heart disease were accurately diagnosed within 24 hours of admission using the telemedicine link and were transferred to the regional paediatric cardiology unit. A further 28 with less serious congenital heart disease continued to be managed at the district general hospital. Congenital heart disease was excluded in 19. Follow up consultation confirmed accurate diagnosis or exclusion of congenital heart disease in 57 (93%). There were four inaccurate diagnoses (6.3%; three undetected small ventricular septal defects and one pulmonary stenosis). Transmitted images were of sufficient quality to allow confirmation or exclusion of major congenital heart disease. The telemedicine link facilitated early diagnosis and initiation of appropriate management in patients with complex congenital heart disease and avoided the need for transfer in those where significant congenital heart disease was excluded.
    Heart (British Cardiac Society) 09/1999; 82(2):217-21. · 5.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To quantify the incidence of ventricular septal defect in "low-risk" neonates; and to define any associated risk factors. One hundred and seventy three patients with ventricular septal defects from a scanned population of 3971 clinically normal neonates were compared with scanned controls, considered to be clinically normal. A subset of the group with defects was compared with normal infants delivered over the same period, to identify any seasonal variation. Ventricular septal defects were detected in 4.36 % of the "scanned" group (173 out of 3971). Ten had perimembranous defects and the remainder apical or muscular lesions. Eleven neonates had multiple defects. The incidence of ventricular septal defect was independent of most tested risk factors. There were significantly more girls in the group with defects compared with the controls (p = 0.004). The defects group also contained fewer infants born during summer months (p = 0.04). The incidence of ventricular septal defects was much higher than might be expected, given that "high risk infants" were excluded. The observations that gender and season of birth affect the rate suggest that both genetic and environmental factors may be involved in the aetiology.
    Archives of Disease in Childhood - Fetal and Neonatal Edition 08/1999; 81(1):F61-3. · 3.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We established a low-cost telemedicine link from a district general hospital to the regional paediatric cardiology department about 120 km away. The link was used to transmit echocardiographic images of newborn infants suspected of having congenital heart disease (CHD) to the referral centre, with simultaneous video and audio contact for consultation. Echocardiograms were transmitted for 61 patients suspected of having CHD, aged from 1 to 42 days. The transmitted images were of adequate quality for the paediatric cardiologist to make a diagnosis in 59 (97%). Congenital heart abnormalities were diagnosed in 38 (64%). Twelve patients (20%) had major CHD diagnosed on the transmitted scan and required transfer to the regional cardiology unit either urgently or electively after initial measures to stabilize the patient. Our findings suggest that, for babies suspected of having CHD, ultrasound images of diagnostic quality can be obtained and transmitted using a low-cost telemedicine system.
    Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare 02/1998; 4 Suppl 1:46-8. · 1.47 Impact Factor
  • Pediatric Research 01/1998; 44(3). · 2.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine whether telemedicine could assist in the earlier diagnosis of neonates with congenital heart disease (CHD) in an area hospital remote from a paediatric cardiologist, we established a low-cost telemedicine link between the neonatal unit of a district general hospital and the regional paediatric cardiology unit. Realtime ultrasound images of babies suspected of having CHD were obtained by a paediatrician and transmitted for realtime interpretation by a paediatric cardiologist. In a four-month pilot study, 10 neonates were studied in this way. In eight of the ten cases, the diagnosis made over the telemedicine link was confirmed subsequently in a direct examination at the regional unit. In one case the patient died before the direct examination was possible. In one case two small muscular ventricular septal defects were missed on the remote examination. Our early experience suggests that, with realtime guidance by a paediatric cardiologist, transmitted images of sufficient quality to allow confirmation or exclusion of major cardiac defects can be obtained. This form of remote consultation should improve morbidity and mortality rates by reducing the waiting time for specialist diagnosis and treatment.
    Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare 02/1996; 2(3):165-9. · 1.47 Impact Factor