Applicability, limitations and downstream impact of echocardiography utilization based on the appropriateness use criteria for transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography
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To evaluate impact of echocardiography on patient management based on published transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC). A prospective analysis of 170 consecutive outpatients who underwent TTE over a period of 2 months. Echo studies were classified into appropriate (A), inappropriate (I), or uncertain (U) based on the 2007/2011 AUC. A fourth group of studies which were not addressed by the 2007 AUC and therefore have unclassifiable category (UC) were also included in the analysis. The impact of AUC categorized echo results on patient management were evaluated by review of patient records in the ensuing 2 months. Based on 2007 AUC, 77% (131/170) were A, 9% were I, and 14% were UC category. Echo studies classified as A were more likely to be associated with new and major findings, (P = 0.034) and (P = 0.028) respectively when compared to all other studies. Furthermore, patient care intervention as defined in the study protocol was significantly associated with A studies as opposed to I and UC studies (P = 0.004). A studies were also more likely to have an impact on patient management when compared to other studies (P = 0.022). When studies were re-evaluated based on the 2011 AUC, all prior UC studies were now included in the U group in the new AUC of 2011, and there was no change in A or I study classification. This study demonstrates that the 2007/2011 AUC are helpful in evaluating practice patterns in a majority of outpatients undergoing TTE. Implementing AUC have a direct clinical impact as A studies are significantly more likely to reveal new and major findings, and more likely to result in a patient care intervention based on the echo findings.
KeywordsAppropriateness Appropriate use criteria Transthoracic echocardiography Impact Utilization
Authors thanks Mrs Nandita Mani from Sladen Library Henry Ford Hospital for her expert assistance in manuscript preparation.
Conflict of interest
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