[Diagnosis of a systolic murmur among young asymptomatic patient: An assessment of professional practices for the expertise in military medicine].

Research paper by M-C MC Boeuf, G G Rohel, G G Lamour, M M Piquemal, N N Paleiron, X X Fouilland, C C Le Nestour, U U Vinsonneau, S S Paez, P P Paule

Indexed on: 21 Oct '15Published on: 21 Oct '15Published in: Annales de Cardiologie et d'Angéiologie


The finding of a systolic heart murmur is common in medical military practice. Albeit often benign among young healthy adults, it can reveal a valvular or a cardiac disease, which could worsen during workout or expose to risk of a sudden death. This study aims to evaluate the diagnostic efficiency of the military general practitioner when discovering a systolic murmur among young asymptomatic patients.During one year, this study involved all the general practitioners of the medical military centres of Brittany and the cardiologists of the military hospital in Brest. It prospectively enrolled a cohort of all military asymptomatic patients under 40, without any underlying known heart condition. Military general practitioners listed, thanks to an anonymous form, the main features of the systolic murmur and of the ECG and proposed an auscultatory diagnosis: innocent or organic murmur. Then cardiologists did the same and finally performed a transthoracic echocardiography giving the diagnosis.Fifty-eight patients were referred, 5 not meeting the inclusion criteria. Of the 53 patients included, military general practitioners found 46 innocent murmurs and 7 organic ones. Cardiologists found 51 innocent murmurs and 2 organic. Transthoracic echocardiography just took on one organic murmur (linked with a bicuspid aortic valve), spotted by the specialist, though judged innocent by the general practitioner.Most of innocent murmurs diagnosed by general practitioners (45/46) were confirmed. Regarding the seven organic murmurs, the main selected criteria (intensity over 3, orthostatic persistence, diffuse irradiation) are mostly in accordance with the literature, proving right medical instincts. Authors propose a practical management of systolic murmurs among asymptomatic young patients.Military general practitioners seem to master symptoms of organic murmur. This assessment argues for a promotion of a holistic clinical examination, which will help not only to rationalize the use of transthoracic echocardiography in economic terms but also to value the medical expertise.