American Society of Echocardiography unveils new guidelines for comprehensive TTE

The American Society of Echocardiography has released new guidelines for performing a comprehensive transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) examination. The full recommendations, which were endorsed by 22 other cardiology/echocardiography societies from around the world, were published in the January edition of the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography.

Supplemented with more than 100 videos and dozens of illustrated charts and tables, the document features sections on two-dimensional measurements and imaging, M-mode measurements, color Doppler imaging, and spectral Doppler imaging. Another section on additional techniques covers ultrasound enhancement agents, longitudinal strain imaging and three-dimensional evaluations of ventricular size and function.

“Echocardiography, specifically TTE, is the most versatile imaging modality for diagnosing cardiovascular disease, and the past decade has seen its use expand into many new clinical areas,” Peter Rahko, MD, director of echocardiography at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and a co-chair of the guideline writing group, said in a press release. “To ensure that patients continue to receive the best care, we felt it was essential to reexamine what constitutes a contemporary comprehensive TTE.”

The authors said the new guideline was necessary given advancements in technology and TTE performance. It features specific recommendations for incorporating different ultrasound-based modalities into a comprehensive examination as well as best practices for using the appropriate instruments and scanning maneuvers to acquire the best possible image.

“As the writing committee surveyed available resources, we found a lack of updated information, as well as a lack of consensus, in how to define all the different scanning techniques,” said Carol Mitchell, PhD, RDMS, RDCS, the other co-chair of the writing group and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

“Our hope is that this will provide a valuable resource for students and new sonographers, and that echo labs will use these new recommendations as a starting point to design comprehensive protocols that best fit the patient populations they serve.”