Diagnosis of neonatal congenital heart defects by remote consultation using a low-cost telemedicine link

F Casey, D Brown, B G Craig, J Rogers, H C Mulholland

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36 Citations (Scopus)


To determine whether telemedicine could assist in the earlier diagnosis of neonates with congenital heart disease (CHD) in an area hospital remote from a paediatric cardiologist, we established a low-cost telemedicine link between the neonatal unit of a district general hospital and the regional paediatric cardiology unit. Realtime ultrasound images of babies suspected of having CHD were obtained by a paediatrician and transmitted for realtime interpretation by a paediatric cardiologist. In a four-month pilot study, 10 neonates were studied in this way. In eight of the ten cases, the diagnosis made over the telemedicine link was confirmed subsequently in a direct examination at the regional unit. In one case the patient died before the direct examination was possible. In one case two small muscular ventricular septal defects were missed on the remote examination. Our early experience suggests that, with realtime guidance by a paediatric cardiologist, transmitted images of sufficient quality to allow confirmation or exclusion of major cardiac defects can be obtained. This form of remote consultation should improve morbidity and mortality rates by reducing the waiting time for specialist diagnosis and treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-9
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 1996


  • Cardiology Service, Hospital
  • Heart Defects, Congenital/diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Northern Ireland
  • Pilot Projects
  • Remote Consultation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ultrasonography


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