Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic various scholars and researchers are trying to find different modes of investigations and treatment which can be done distantly.
One such new tool developed is “VEST” stands for virtual echocardiography screening tool. It is used to diagnose pulmonary hypertension Group 1 as per the World Health Organization (WHO) classification.
VEST can assist clinicians remotely for diagnosing people with PH which is very significant because the patients of PH are considered a high-risk group for COVID-19.
VEST gives a score ranging from -3 to +3, in which higher scores indicate a higher probability of PH due to pulmonary vascular disease.
A study was carried out in which researchers found that a VEST score above 0 had 80.0% sensitivity and 75.6% specificity for diagnosing PH due to pulmonary vascular disease which is classified as WHO Group 1. Score below 0 were for WHO Group 2 PH.
The study suggested that the data derived from standard echocardiographic reports can be successfully used with VEST for finding the probability of PHPVD (PH due to pulmonary vascular disease).
Also to make it more simpler one of the parameters of echocardiogram which was comparatively complex was replaced with e-velocity. Which further simplified VEST score with 81.4% sensitivity and 69.4% specificity.
VEST can also differentiate PH due to pulmonary vascular disease which is WHO Group 1 from the other WHO PH groups. This feature was further validated with another study which gave significant results proving the capability of VEST.
Thus it was concluded that VEST can play a very promising role in situations such as the present pandemic where instead of reviewing images for hemodynamic profiles, only the routinely reported parameters in echocardiograms can be used to diagnose pulmonary hypertension.
Any physician can use VEST which will enhance the early detection of PH leading to timely evaluation and proper treatment.
Future research for VEST will aim to evaluate its long-term impact on PH patient outcomes.
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