ACC Endorses ASE Statement on Echocardiography Protection For Patients, Providers During COVID-19

The ACC has endorsed a statement from the American Society of Echocardiography that provides guidance to protect patients and providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement has been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The authors note that given the risk of cardiovascular complications in the setting of COVID-19, including preexisting cardiac disease, acute cardiac injury and drug-related myocardial damage, echocardiographic services will likely be required in the care of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

The statement addresses triaging and provides a decision pathway for handling echocardiographic requests, as well as indications and recommended procedures to follow for an echocardiographic assessment of cardiovascular function in suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases. Recommended measures to prevent the spread of disease in the echo lab are also provided.

In reviewing indications for who to image, the statement recommends determining which studies are "elective" and can be deferred and those that are not. The authors note that obtaining clinically important information should assist decision-making, along with whether or not the study is considered appropriate. Also highlighted is the need for careful consideration about performing transesophageal echocardiograms, and care when doing so, because of the heightened risk of disease spread due to potential aerosolization of the coronavirus during the exam.

In addition, the statement reviews where to image and notes the portability of echocardiography offers an advantage of imaging patients without moving them and risking transmission in the clinic or hospital. Along with protocols for imaging, the authors discuss the protection of personnel and equipment and the role of learners and maintaining medical education.

Clinical Topics: Noninvasive Imaging, Echocardiography/Ultrasound

Keywords: COVID-19, Coronavirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Echocardiography, Echocardiography, Transesophageal, Cardiology

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