Cardiologists Failing to Identify Problematic Heart Murmurs

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Cardiologists Failing to Identify Problematic Heart Murmurs
Cardiologists Failing to Identify Problematic Heart Murmurs

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiologists don't always identify heart valve issues through the sound of heart murmurs, but additional training improves their abilities, according to a study presented at the annual European Society of Cardiology Congress, held from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 in London.

The study included 1,098 cardiologists who had their skills assessed at American College of Cardiology meetings from 2011 to 2014. They were asked to diagnose heart valve problems after listening to recordings of heart murmurs. The doctors failed to identify half of basic problems and one-third of advanced problems, the researchers found.

The cardiologists then did extra training for both basic and advanced heart valve problems (90 minutes each). They improved from 48 to 88 percent in identifying basic problems and from 66 to 93 percent in identifying advanced problems.

The study confirms the widely held belief that cardiologists' skills in identifying heart valve problems have decreased over time, according to study coauthor Patrick O'Gara, M.D., past-president of the American College of Cardiology. "As shown in this and other studies, however, these skills can improve with repetition and training," he said in a college news release.

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