Diagnostic performance of congestion score index evaluated from chest radiography for acute heart failure in the emergency department: A retrospective analysis from the PARADISE cohort

BACKGROUND Congestion score index (CSI), a semiquantitative evaluation of congestion on chest radiography (CXR), is associated with outcome in patients with heart failure (HF). However, its diagnostic value in patients admitted for acute dyspnea has yet to be evaluated.
METHODS AND FINDINGS The diagnostic value of CSI for acute HF (AHF; adjudicated from patients' discharge files) was studied in the Pathway of dyspneic patients in Emergency (PARADISE) cohort, including patients aged 18 years or older admitted for acute dyspnea in the emergency department (ED) of the Nancy University Hospital (France) between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. CSI (ranging from 0 to 3) was evaluated using a semiquantitative method on CXR in consecutive patients admitted for acute dyspnea in the ED. Results were validated in independent cohorts (N = 224). Of 1,333 patients, mean (standard deviation [SD]) age was 72.0 (18.5) years, 686 (51.5%) were men, and mean (SD) CSI was 1.42 (0.79). Patients with higher CSI had more cardiovascular comorbidities, more severe congestion, higher b-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), poorer renal function, and more respiratory acidosis. AHF was diagnosed in 289 (21.7%) patients. CSI was significantly associated with AHF diagnosis (adjusted odds ratio [OR]for 0.1 unit CSI increase 1.19, 95% CI 1.16-1.22, p<0.001) after adjustment for clinical-based diagnostic score including age, comorbidity burden, dyspnea, and clinical congestion. The diagnostic accuracy of CSI for AHF was>0.80, whether alone (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUROC] 0.84, 95% CI 0.82-0.86) or in addition to the clinical model (AUROC 0.87, 95% CI 0.85-0.90). CSI improved diagnostic accuracy on top of clinical variables (net reclassification improvement [NRI]= 94.9%) and clinical variables plus BNP (NRI = 55.0%). Similar diagnostic accuracy was observed in the validation cohorts (AUROC 0.75, 95% CI 0.68-0.82). The key limitation of our derivation cohort was its single-center and retrospective nature, which was counterbalanced by the validation in the independent cohorts.
CONCLUSIONS In this study, we observed that a systematic semiquantified assessment of radiographic pulmonary congestion showed high diagnostic value for AHF in dyspneic patients. Better use of CXR may provide an inexpensive, widely, and readily available method for AHF triage in the ED.

as reported in: PLoS Med. 2020 Nov; 17(11): e1003419