New Study Shows Telemedicine Works to Effectively Identify Heart Problems in Children Far from a Specialized Medical Center

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study by researchers from Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo., found that rapid electronic review of children's heart images by specialists nearly 200 miles away allowed for earlier diagnosis and treatment of potentially serious pediatric heart problems. The study was presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco.

Researchers looked at 11 years of data on first-time pediatric echocardiograms performed at St. John's Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., and transmitted to pediatric heart specialists at Children's Mercy 160 miles away, between April 1998 and October 2009.

More than 70 percent (71.7 percent) of the echocardiograms were ordered due to the local physician hearing a heart murmur. Nearly three-quarters (73.6 percent) of the echocardiograms were determined by Children's Mercy specialists to be normal.

"Satellite heart imaging labs like the one evaluated in this study can give parents fast access to pediatric expertise they might not otherwise have, and that can often be reassuring," said Seiji Ito, MD, resident at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, and co-author of the study. "This study helps illustrate how telemedicine can save families significant worry, time and expense. It alleviates the need to make appointments with an unfamiliar doctor in a city far away, and endure a lengthy road trip that ultimately could prove to be unnecessary."

Of the 905 echocardiograms evaluated, only 15 (1.7 percent) resulted in a transfer to Children's Mercy for treatment.

Telemedicine involves the use communication technology to share health information among physicians or between physicians and patients. Over the 11 years looked at in this study, the method of transmission evolved from video tape over integrated services digital network (ISDN), to digital studies transmitted over the internet.

About Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics

Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, located in Kansas City, Mo., is one of the nation's top pediatric medical centers. The 314-bed hospital provides care for children from birth through the age of 18, and has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet designation for excellence in nursing services, and ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of "America's Best Children's Hospitals." Its faculty of 600 pediatricians and researchers across more than 40 subspecialties are actively involved in clinical care, pediatric research, and educating the next generation of pediatric subspecialists. For more information about Children's Mercy and its research, visit childrensmercy.org. For breaking news and videos, follow us on Twitter, YouTube   and Facebook.

SOURCE Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics

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