Development of a cardiac technician led paediatric echocardiographic service--experience from a district general hospital in the United Kingdom.

Research paper by Jane J Allen, David F DF Dickinson, Arun A Ramachandran, John D R JD Thomson

Indexed on: 04 May '05Published on: 04 May '05Published in: Cardiology in the young


To report our experience in providing cardiac technician led paediatric echocardiography services in a district general hospital in the United Kingdom.We have collected prospectively the numbers of referrals, and the proportion of abnormal echocardiograms, since inception of the service in 2000. In additional, for a period of 12 months, we have audited in detail the patterns of referral to the service, and outcomes, assessing the effect of the service on the outreach clinic run by a visiting paediatric cardiologist.Use of the system resulted in detection of a wide range of abnormalities, with our audit showing that the patients received appropriate management. The total referrals to the service increased 10 fold over the 4 year period of the study. The proportion of abnormal hearts detected by echocardiography, however, dropped from 90 per cent to 16 per cent over the same period. The numbers of patients seen in the outreach cardiology clinic remained unaltered.Having been proved to be an effective model for the triage of children with suspected congenital cardiac disease, adoption of a cardiac technician led echocardiographic service has seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of echocardiograms requested, without decreasing the workload of the visiting paediatric cardiologist.