ASE establishes pediatric echo guidelines

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The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) for the first time has released a set of guidelines and standards for pediatric echocardiography, or pediatric heart ultrasound.

Because pediatric echocardiography is more than just an exam of a smaller heart, the guidelines include additional views critical to accurate evaluation of a child’s heart and knowledge of the heart conditions more common in children. Special techniques, such as distraction tools and sedation, also are often necessary when imaging infants and young children.

The guidelines detail a number of parameters in the use of pediatric heart ultrasounds, including overview of indications for pediatric echocardiography, description of optimal equipment and laboratory setup, a framework of necessary knowledge and training, a standard pediatric examination protocol, lists of standard measurements, and reporting requirements.

“The American Society of Echocardiography endorses the establishment of guidelines for this procedure,” said Wyman Lai, MD, pediatric cardiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center, ASE-member and one of the primary authors of the guidelines. “This is a critical tool for detecting heart defects and heart disease in children, and it is vital that a standard set of procedures govern the examination.”

The guidelines were published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography and were written by physicians at the Mount Sinai Medical Center; Children’s Hospital, Boston; Medical University of South Carolina; Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin; Children’s Hospital of Michigan; University of California, San Francisco; Texas Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Go to for a copy of the guidelines.