Standard echocardiography versus handheld echocardiography for the detection of subclinical rheumatic heart disease : protocol for a systematic review

Telford, Lisa H. ; Abdullahi, Leila H. ; Ochodo, Eleanor A. ; Zuhlke, Liesl J. ; Engel, Mark E. (2018-02)

CITATION: Telford, L.H. et al. 2018. Standard echocardiography versus handheld echocardiography for the detection of subclinical rheumatic heart disease: protocol for a systematic review. BMJ Open, 8(2):e020140, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020140.

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Introduction Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a preventable and treatable chronic condition which persists in many developing countries largely affecting impoverished populations. Handheld echocardiography presents an opportunity to address the need for more cost-effective methods of diagnosing RHD in developing countries, where the disease continues to carry high rates of morbidity and mortality. Preliminary studies have demonstrated moderate sensitivity as well as high specificity and diagnostic odds for detecting RHD in asymptomatic patients. We describe a protocol for a systematic review on the diagnostic performance of handheld echocardiography compared to standard echocardiography using the 2012 World Heart Federation criteria for diagnosing subclinical RHD. Methods and analysis Electronic databases including PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science and EBSCOhost as well as reference lists and citations of relevant articles will be searched from 2012 to date using a predefined strategy incorporating a combination of Medical Subject Heading terms and keywords. The methodological validity and quality of studies deemed eligible for inclusion will be assessed against review specific Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 criteria and information on metrics of diagnostic accuracy and demographics extracted. Forest plots of sensitivity and specificity as well as scatter plots in receiver operating characteristic (ROC) space will be used to investigate heterogeneity. If possible, a meta-analysis will be conducted to produce summary results of sensitivity and specificity using the Hierarchical Summary ROC method. In addition, a sensitivity analysis will be conducted to investigate the effect of studies with a high risk of bias.

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