News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound | August 07, 2019

Contrast Use in First Transthoracic Echocardiogram for Heart Failure Reduces Repeat Testing

Study of more than 9,000 patients finds contrast group five times less likely to need repeat exam with earlier hospital discharge

Contrast Use in First Transthoracic Echocardiogram for Heart Failure Reduces Repeat Testing

August 7, 2019 — Heart failure is the fourth most common cause for all admission to U.S. hospitals, and it is the most common reason for ordering an inpatient transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE). Research presented at the 30th Annual American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) Scientific Sessions shows patients who received an echocardiogram with contrast were less likely to require repeat tests and had shorter hospitalizations overall. This study shows the value of contrast (ultrasound enhancing agent/UEA) for improving clinical care and potentially decreasing healthcare costs.

Lead author Katherine C. Lee, Piedmont Heart Institute and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, said, “The appropriate use of echocardiography is one of today’s most challenging issues, having significant implications for both the quality and cost of care for patients with heart failure. An echocardiogram is the recommended first diagnostic test for heart failure and also the most common test performed for heart failure. With this retrospective analysis, we looked to analyze the relationship between contrast echocardiography and repeat echo testing among 9,115 patients who were admitted to the hospital with the diagnosis of heart failure over a four-year period. We found that patients who received a contrast echocardiogram as their first test were five times less likely to require a repeat echo and were discharged earlier from the hospital than those who did not receive contrast. This result highlights the importance of quality imaging (namely contrast echocardiography) in improving patient care, with the added benefit of generating potential cost savings to hospitals nationwide.”  

Ultrasound contrast used to enhance echocardiographic images is not the same type of contrast used in invasive catheter-based procedures such as angiography. Ultrasound contrast is comprised of tiny microbubbles and is commercially available from three different vendors in the United States. It has no renal side effects, is rapidly metabolized and is safe for use, with the only side effect being rare allergic reactions (approximately 1/10,000, comparable to other imaging contrast agents).

For more information: www.asecho.org

Related Content

New echo technology and products at the 2018 ASE meeting.
Feature | ASE | June 22, 2018
More than 60 companies and organizations are displaying their latest products and services at the 2018 American Socie
GE Healthcare Vivid T8 cardiac ultrasound, highlights from the American Society of Echo ASE 2017
Feature | ASE | June 26, 2017
June 26, 2017 — Here is a list of some key clinical presentations and video interviews with cardiac ultrasound though
Videos | ASE | June 30, 2016
DAIC/ITN editor Dave Fornell shares some of the innovative new technologies on the show floor of the American Society
Overlay Init