The introduction of intensive care-led echocardiography into a tertiary care unit

Shirjel Alam, Annemarie Docherty, Ian Mackle, Michael Gillies

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The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and impact of an intensive care-led trans-thoracic echocardiography (TTE) service replacing a cardiology-led service. Three intensivists were trained and accredited with the British Society of Echocardiography, and between 1st February and 1st August 2010 intensive care implemented a 24-hour scanning service. A prospective observational study was performed to examine the impact in our tertiary referral general intensive care unit. ECG, echocardiographic findings, technical difficulties and any changes in management made as a result of a TTE were recorded. Of 125 attempted scans, 120 patients had full studies (96%), four had limited studies (3%) and one was not possible. TTE changed management in 61 (49%) cases. This compares to only 57 scans performed in total in the preceding six months with a cardiology-led service. We conclude that intensive care-led TTE is feasible when carried out by trained staff, led to greater use of echocardiography and a change in management in almost half the patients studied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-19
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Intensive Care Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Cardiac function
  • Cardiac output
  • ECG
  • Echocardiography
  • Haemodynamic monitoring
  • Intensive care

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