The Utility of Ultrasound to Determine Ventricular Capture in External Cardiac Pacing

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Determining electrical capture when using an external cardiac pacemaker is often difficult and confusing, especially when the resulting clinical signs of an effective blood pressure and pulse are inadequate or nondetectable. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of using 2-dimensional ultrasound (US) in determining the presence of ventricular capture of an external cardiac pacemaker in a swine model. Five anesthetized swine underwent external cardiac pacing (ECP) at variable levels of energy output while concurrent US images and electrocardiograph monitoring were recorded on videotape. Determinations of capture/no capture were made in the laboratory. Segments of videotape were selected to be reviewed by 2 physicians blinded to these laboratory determinations of capture and to each other. Kappa levels of agreement were determined among the 3 pairs of comparisons. Seventeen segments were reviewed. Kappa levels of agreement were 0.76 for Reviewer A versus Laboratory determination, 0.88 for Reviewer B versus Laboratory determination, and 0.88 for Reviewer A versus Reviewer B. All P values were <.001. These excellent levels of agreement show that 2D US in this animal model is highly effective in determining the presence of ventricular capture in ECP. (Am J Emerg Med 2001;19:134-136. Copyright © 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company)

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