ACC provides self-assessments for cardiologists looking to hone imaging know-how

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As the specialty of cardiac imaging keeps getting broader in scope, and more widely used, cardiologists are faced with the need for expertise in a number of modalities such as echo, cardiac MR, nuclear cardiology, and cardiac CT and how to integrate them for the most effective diagnosis possible. With this in mind, at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in Atlanta this week the organization announced the released of a series of self-assessment products to help cardiologists keep up-to-date on the latest modalities.
    
One program, the CCTSAP (Cardiovascular Computed Tomography Self-Assessment Program) includes 50 case studies along with syllabus text, images, questions, and references as a useful resource in CCT.
   
CCTSAP, developed in collaboration with the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography, was written to enable users to meet COCATS Level 1 training requirements, said Allan Taylor, MD, FACC. The material aligns with new ACCF (American College of Cardiology Foundation) 2006 COCATS for CT and MR and last summer’s ACCF/AHA Clinical Competence Statement on Cardiac Imaging with Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance.
   
It is essential that cardiovascular specialists understand new imaging technologies and how they can be integrated, Taylor added.
   
The CCTSAP also provides information on incidental findings that to assist users to spot non-cardiac related patient issues that might be found. This has been noted as a weakness for CV professionals, ACC said.
   
Another of the Self-Assessment programs, EchoSAP 5 for Echocardiography, has been newly updated. The program now includes the latest in echo techniques like intracardiac echocardiography, 3D echocardiography and Strain Rate Imaging.
   
According to EchoSAP 5 editor Elyse Foster, MD, FACC, the program provides learning from advanced levels to the most basic, including areas on echocardiography in coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, diastolic dysfunction and cardiomyopathies. Users also will find a section on adult congenital heart disease.
   
Perhaps many consider echo a mature field with little of excitement of some of the newer imaging modalities, said Foster, but recent advances, such as Doppler tissue imaging for heart failure patients with dyssynchrony, demonstrate the field’s continuing evolution.
   
ACC also reintroduced the Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Self-Assessment Program (CMRSAP) at the show which should help users satisfy COCATS Level 1 Training requirements and gives them an overview of non-invasive assessments, ACC said.
   
For more information, visit: http://www.acc.org/education/products/products.htm.