ECHOCARDIOGRAPHIC EXAMINATION DEFINED
Contributed by: Peter S. Rahko, MD, FASE, Director, Adult Echocardiography, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Professor, Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI; and Carol Mitchell, PhD, RDMS, RDCS, RVT, RT(R), ACS, FASE, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI.
Why do we need to define the Transthoracic Exam? The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) convened a writing group to establish new guidelines for the performance of a transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE). The purposes of the new guideline are to: 1. Establish the content of a comprehensive TTE examination, 2. Provide recommendations for technical performance and appropriate use of instrumentation during the exam, 3. Provide guidance for the integration of all ultrasound-based imaging modalities into the comprehensive exam, and 4. Describe best practices for the measurement and display of data generated by the TTE exam. ASE first established standards for the comprehensive TTE exam back in 1980 and updated recommended components of the exam in 2011. As echocardiography continues to evolve, there is a need to reexamine what constitutes a contemporary comprehensive TTE for the purpose of: • Establishing a standard definition of the comprehensive TTE for clinical research protocols. • Providing a standard for educators teaching new students about the elements of a full examination. • Establishing guidance for accreditation organizations that judge lab performance. • Providing for a universal standard of performance to help reduce regional variation in what constitutes a comprehensive TTE. • Establishing information for advocacy groups to educate the general public, hospital administrators, health policy makers, government regulators, and insurance companies about the depth and breadth of a comprehensive exam. • Providing knowledge about the use of all major modalities of ultrasound that are necessary for a TTE to help guide industry vendors designing new ultrasound systems as to the type of equipment necessary to fully utilize cardiovascular ultrasound.
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