Feature | July 17, 2014

International Group Issues Recommendations for Focused Cardiac Ultrasound Use

cardiac ultrasound, FOCUS exam

July 17 2014 — The Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography (JASE) announced the publication of a new consensus statement on the use of focused cardiac ultrasound (FoCUS) in its July 2014 issue. The article, entitled “International Evidence-Based Recommendations for Focused Cardiac Ultrasound,” was spearheaded by the World Interactive Network Focused on Critical UltraSound (WINFOCUS), and presents the results of the first International Conference on FoCUS, which aimed to comprehensively address this branch of point-of-care ultrasound, providing a framework for FoCUS to standardize its application in different clinical settings around the world.

The practice of cardiac ultrasound, also known as echocardiography, has changed dramatically since its introduction in 1954. The accuracy, efficiency and safety of cardiac ultrasound have made it the diagnostic choice for many clinicians when evaluating patients who present with signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease. The recent improvements in portability of cardiovascular ultrasound equipment are now also having a significant impact on the expansion of its use in medical practice.

The lead author of the paper, Gabriele Via, M.D., noted, “These recommendations represent a turning point for the medical community, especially, but not exclusively, in the field of emergency and critical care. For the first time, under the auspices of WINFOCUS, multiple authoritative scientific societies representing different specialties and continents (including the world's major echocardiographic societies) collaborated to set the standards for the practice of and the education to focused cardiac ultrasound (FoCUS).” Via is an intensivist and anesthesiologist at the Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, in Pavia, Italy, as well as director of the WINFOCUS Critical Care Echocardiography Training Program and of the WINFOCUS Basic Echo (WBE) curriculum.

In his recent inaugural address in Portland, Ore., the new president of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE), Neil Weissman, M.D., FASE, spoke about the growth of cardiovascular ultrasound, especially among non-cardiologists, and his vision for ASE and the medical field to embrace these new users to improve patient care in a growing number of clinical settings. In his first President’s Message in this same issue of JASE, Weissman noted, “The future of ultrasound will also be a more focused, basic exam to address one particular aspect of health or simply as an extension of the physical exam. Cardiovascular ultrasound will likely have a broader role in healthcare and be used by more healthcare workers.”

The publication of this document in JASE represents the first of collaborations between WINFOCUS and ASE, and will make the paper available to a wide audience worldwide.

Via added, “As envisioned by WINFOCUS a decade ago, FoCUS will now be increasingly taught and practiced as a first-line diagnostic test in a wide range of medical scenarios: from cardiac arrest, to shock, heart failure, trauma, sepsis and respiratory failure. And, potentially, everywhere a patient is: from pre-hospital care and scarce resource settings to the most complex intra-hospital contexts.”

For more information: www.onlinejase.com

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