Article

Focused Cardiac Ultrasound Training: How Much Is Enough?

Department of Emergency Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.
Journal of Emergency Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.18). 01/2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2012.07.092
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Focused transthoracic echocardiography (F-TTE) is an important tool to assess hemodynamically unstable patients in the Emergency Department. Although its scope has been defined by the American College of Emergency Physicians, more research is needed to define an optimal F-TTE training program, including assessment of proficiency. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to determine the effectiveness of current standards in post-residency training to reach proficiency in F-TTE. METHODS: Fourteen staff Emergency Physicians were enrolled in a standardized teaching curriculum specifically designed to meet the 2008 American College of Emergency Physicians' guidelines for general ultrasound training applied to echocardiography. This training program consisted of 6 h of didactics and 6 h of scanning training, followed by independent scanning over a 5-month period. Acquisition of echocardiographic knowledge was assessed by an online pre- and post-test. At the conclusion of the study, a hands-on skills test assessed the trainees' ability to perform and interpret F-TTE. RESULTS: Ninety percent of trainees passed the written post-test. Two views, the parasternal long and short axis, were easily obtainable, regardless of the level of training or the number of ultrasounds completed. Other views were more difficult to master, but strong trends toward increased competency were evident after 10 h of mixed didactic and scanning training and > 45 ultrasounds. CONCLUSIONS: A short, 12-h didactic training in F-TTE provided proficiency in image interpretation and in obtaining adequate images from the parasternal window. More extensive training is needed to master the apical and subcostal windows in a timely manner.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Focused cardiac ultrasound (FoCUS) is a simplified, clinician-performed application of echocardiography that is rapidly expanding in use, especially in emergency and critical care medicine. Performed by appropriately trained clinicians, typically not cardiologists, FoCUS ascertains the essential information needed in critical scenarios for time-sensitive clinical decision making. A need exists for quality evidence-based review and clinical recommendations on its use. Methods The World Interactive Network Focused on Critical UltraSound conducted an international, multispecialty, evidence-based, methodologically rigorous consensus process on FoCUS. Thirty-three experts from 16 countries were involved. A systematic multiple-database, double-track literature search (January 1980 to September 2013) was performed. The Grading of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation method was used to determine the quality of available evidence and subsequent development of the recommendations. Evidence-based panel judgment and consensus was collected and analyzed by means of the RAND appropriateness method. Results During four conferences (in New Delhi, Milan, Boston, and Barcelona), 108 statements were elaborated and discussed. Face-to-face debates were held in two rounds using the modified Delphi technique. Disagreement occurred for 10 statements. Weak or conditional recommendations were made for two statements and strong or very strong recommendations for 96. These recommendations delineate the nature, applications, technique, potential benefits, clinical integration, education, and certification principles for FoCUS, both for adults and pediatric patients. Conclusions This document presents the results of the first International Conference on FoCUS. For the first time, evidence-based clinical recommendations comprehensively address this branch of point-of-care ultrasound, providing a framework for FoCUS to standardize its application in different clinical settings around the world.
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