Background: Limited resources, managed care, and advances in technology have led to the suggestion that physicians other than cardiologists be further empowered to perform the initial cardiac evaluation in children with suspected heart disease. To study this strategy, we compared the management decisions of pediatricians with the recommendations of pediatric cardiologists who reviewed the records of the same patients. Methods: Sixty-nine patients aged <23 years with suspected heart disease were referred by pediatricians (n = 40) on the inpatient service at Boston Medical Center for either a cardiology consultation or echocardiography. Two pediatric cardiologists who were blinded to the management decisions and clinical outcomes later reviewed the patient records. Recommendations between the 2 pediatric cardiologist reviewers and the managing pediatricians were compared. Results: Pediatricians scheduled significantly fewer cardiology follow-up visits, instituted cardiac medications significantly less often, arranged significantly fewer family meetings to review cardiac findings, and ordered significantly fewer additional cardiac procedures than the pediatric cardiologists. This result was consistent regardless of whether the pediatrician's management decisions were made on the basis of the echocardiogram results only or on the recommendations of a cardiology consultant. The 2 pediatric cardiologist reviewers agreed more often with each other than either did with the managing pediatricians. Conclusions: Pediatricians have different management styles than pediatric cardiologists for patients with suspected cardiac disease. The effect of these differences on outcome is unknown, and further investigation is warranted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine