American Society of Echocardiography

Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question

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1

Don’t order follow up or serial echocardiograms for surveillance after a finding of trace valvular regurgitation on an initial echocardiogram.

Trace mitral, tricuspid and pulmonic regurgitation can be detected in 70% to 90% of normal individuals and has no adverse clinical implications. The clinical significance of a small amount of aortic regurgitation with an otherwise normal echocardiographic study is unknown.

2

Don’t repeat echocardiograms in stable, asymptomatic patients with a murmur/click, where a previous exam revealed no significant pathology.

Repeat imaging to address the same question, when no pathology has been previously found and there has been no clinical change in the patient’s condition, is not indicated.

3

Avoid echocardiograms for preoperative/perioperative assessment of patients with no history or symptoms of heart disease.

Perioperative echocardiography is used to clarify signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease, or to investigate abnormal heart tests. Resting left ventricular (LV) function is not a consistent predictor of perioperative ischemic events; even reduced LV systolic function has poor predictive value for perioperative cardiac events.

4

Avoid using stress echocardiograms on asymptomatic patients who meet “low risk” scoring criteria for coronary disease.

Stress echocardiography is mostly used in symptomatic patients to assist in the diagnosis of obstructive coronary artery disease. There is very little information on using stress echocardiography in asymptomatic individuals for the purposes of cardiovascular risk assessment, as a stand-alone test or in addition to conventional risk factors.

5

Avoid transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) to detect cardiac sources of embolization if a source has been identified and patient management will not change.

Tests whose results will not alter management should not be ordered. Protocol-driven testing can be useful if it serves as a reminder not to omit a test or procedure, but should always be individualized to the particular patient. While TEE is safe, even the small degree of risk associated with a procedure is not justified if there is no expected clinical benefit.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

As the largest global organization for cardiovascular ultrasound imaging, the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) is the leader and advocate, setting clinical standards and guidelines with a commitment to improving the practice for better patient outcomes. ASE is devoted to ensuring patient access to excellence in the practice of Echocardiography around the world.  Echocardiography provides an exceptional view of the cardiovascular system to safely and cost-effectively enhance patient care. Full text of ASE’s guidelines is available at www.asecho.org/guidelines.

For more information about ASE, visit www.asecho.org. For patient-specific information on the practice of echocardiography, visit www.SeeMyHeart.org.

How this list was created:

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) identified these interventions after careful review of evidence and clinical guidelines. In particular, ASE’s cardiovascular care experts reviewed the ACCF/ASE/AHA/ASNC/HFSA/HRS/SCAI/SCCM/SCCT/SCMR 2011 Appropriateness Use Criteria for Echocardiography (AUC), which was published in March 2011. ASE’s cardiovascular care scenarios were chosen based on the highest likelihood of improving patient care and reducing inappropriate test use. Leaders in the organization transformed the scenarios into plain language and produced the clinical explanations for each procedure.

Sources

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Douglas PS, Garcia MJ, Haines DE, Lai WW, Manning WJ, Patel AR, Picard MH, Polk DM, Ragosta M, Ward RP, Weiner RB. ACCF/ASE/AHA/ASNC/HFSA/HRS/SCAI/SCCM/SCCT/SCMR 2011 appropriate
use criteria for echocardiography: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation Appropriate Use Criteria Task Force, American Society of Echocardiography, American Heart Association, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Heart Failure Society of America, Heart Rhythm Society, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Critical Care Medicine, Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography, and Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance. J Am Soc Echocardiogr 2011;24:229-67.

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Douglas PS, Garcia MJ, Haines DE, Lai WW, Manning WJ, Patel AR, Picard MH, Polk DM, Ragosta M, Ward RP, Weiner RB. ACCF/ASE/AHA/ASNC/HFSA/HRS/SCAI/SCCM/SCCT/SCMR 2011 appropriate
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Douglas PS, Garcia MJ, Haines DE, Lai WW, Manning WJ, Patel AR, Picard MH, Polk DM, Ragosta M, Ward RP, Weiner RB. ACCF/ASE/AHA/ASNC/HFSA/HRS/SCAI/SCCM/SCCT/SCMR 2011 appropriate
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Fleisher LA, Beckman JA, Brown KA, Calkins H, Chaikof EL, Fleischmann KE, Freeman WK, Froehlich JB, Kasper EK, Kersten JR, Riegel B, Robb JF. 2009 ACCF/AHA focused update on perioperative beta blockade incorporated into the ACC/AHA 2007 guidelines on perioperative cardiovascular evaluation and care for noncardiac surgery: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/ American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol 2009;54:e13–118. Available from: content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1140211.

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Douglas PS, Garcia MJ, Haines DE, Lai WW, Manning WJ, Patel AR, Picard MH, Polk DM, Ragosta M, Ward RP, Weiner RB. ACCF/ASE/AHA/ASNC/HFSA/HRS/SCAI/SCCM/SCCT/SCMR 2011
appropriate use criteria for echocardiography: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation Appropriate Use Criteria Task Force, American Society of Echocardiography, American Heart Association, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Heart Failure Society of America, Heart Rhythm Society, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Critical Care Medicine, Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography, and Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance. J Am Soc Echocardiogr 2011;24:229-67.

Gibbons RJ, Abrams J, Chatterjee K, Daley J, Deedwania PC, Douglas JS, Ferguson TB Jr., Fihn SD, Fraker TD Jr., Gardin JM, O’Rourke RA, Pasternak RC,Williams SV. ACC/AHA 2002 guideline update for the management of patients with chronic stable angina: a report of the American College of Cardiology/ American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines (Committee to Update the 1999 Guidelines for the Management of P atients with Chronic Stable Angina). 2002. Available from: www.cardiosource.org/~/media/Images/ACC/Science%20and%20Quality/Practice%20Guidelines/s/stable_clean.ashx.

Greenland P, Alpert JS, Beller GA, Benjamin EJ, Budoff MJ, Fayad ZA, Foster E, Hlatky MA, Hodgson JMcB, Kushner FG, Lauer MS, Shaw LJ, Smith SC, Jr., Taylor AJ, Weintraub WS, Wenger NK. 2010 ACCF/AHA guideline for assessment of cardiovascular risk in asymptomatic adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol 2010;56:e50–103. Available from: content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1143997.

5.

Douglas PS, Garcia MJ, Haines DE, Lai WW, Manning WJ, Patel AR, Picard MH, Polk DM, Ragosta M, Ward RP, Weiner RB. ACCF/ASE/AHA/ASNC/HFSA/HRS/SCAI/SCCM/SCCT/SCMR 2011 appropriate use criteria for echocardiography: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation Appropriate Use Criteria Task Force, American Society of Echocardiography, American Heart Association, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Heart Failure Society of America, Heart Rhythm Society, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Critical Care Medicine, Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography, and Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance. J Am Soc Echocardiogr 2011;24:229-67.