Groups Release Update on Appropriate Use for Echo

Nearly half of scenarios for echocardiography were rated as appropriate in groups' report

FRIDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF), along with the American Society of Echocardiography and a number of other organizations have released an updated report on appropriate use criteria for echocardiography, published in the Nov. 23 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Pamela S. Douglas, M.D., of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues included 202 clinical scenarios in the report, which were scored by a panel as appropriate, uncertain, or inappropriate use.

The researchers write that 97 were rated appropriate, 34 were rated uncertain, and 71 were rated inappropriate. In most cases, appropriate uses included echocardiography for initial diagnosis after a change in clinical status or when the results would be expected to change patient management. Routine use without a change in clinical status or when results would probably not affect management were more likely to be deemed inappropriate.

"The ACCF believes that careful blending of a broad range of clinical experiences and available evidence-based information will help guide a more efficient and equitable allocation of health care resources in cardiovascular imaging. The ultimate objective of appropriate use criteria is to improve patient care and health outcomes in a cost-effective manner, but it is not intended to ignore ambiguity and nuance intrinsic to clinical decision making. Appropriate use criteria thus should not be considered substitutes for sound clinical judgment and practice experience," the authors write.

Several people involved in the report disclosed financial relationships with outside companies, including imaging companies.

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