News | January 03, 2007

ASE Announces Pediatric Echocardiography Guidelines

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) announced that, for the first time, a set of guidelines and standards has been written and implemented for pediatric echocardiography, or pediatric heart ultrasound.

More than an exam of a heart smaller than an adult’s, pediatric ultrasound involves additional views critical to accurate evaluation of a child’s heart. Knowledge of the heart conditions frequently found in children is required. In addition, special techniques are often needed for imaging infants and young children, including distraction tools and sedation, when necessary.

“Echocardiography is the primary imaging tool in the diagnosis and assessment of congenital and acquired heart disease in infants, children, and adolescents,” said Dr. Wyman Lai, pediatric cardiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center, ASE-member and one of the primary authors of the guidelines. “It is the ideal tool for cardiac assessment, as it is non-invasive, portable, and effective in providing detailed information about the pediatric heart.”

The guidelines detail a number of parameters in the use of pediatric heart ultrasounds:

• Overview of indications for pediatric echocardiography
• Description of optimal equipment and laboratory setup
• Establishment of a framework of necessary knowledge and training
• Establishment of a standard pediatric examination protocol
• Lists of standard measurements
• Discussion of reporting requirements

“The American Society of Echocardiography endorses the establishment of guidelines for this procedure,” said Dr. Lai. “This is a critical tool for detecting heart defects and heart disease in children, and it is vital that a standard set of procedures govern the examination.”

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