Keith Pearce and John Chambers
Sanjeev Bhattacharyya, Denise Parkin and Keith Pearce
The prevalence of heart valve disease is increasing as the population ages. A series of studies have shown current clinical practice is sub-optimal. Some patients are referred for surgery at advanced stages of disease with impaired ventricular function or not even considered for surgery. Valve clinics seek to improve patient outcomes by providing an expert-led, patient-centred framework of care designed to provide an accurate diagnosis with active surveillance of valve pathology and timely referral for intervention at guideline directed trigger points. A range of different valve clinic models can be adopted depending on local expertise combining the skill set of cardiologist, physiologist/scientist and nurses. Essential components to all clinics include structured clinical review, echocardiography to identify disease aetiology and severity, patient education and access to both additional diagnostic testing and a multi-disciplinary meeting for complex case review. Recommendations for training in heart valve disease are being developed. There is a growing evidence base for heart valve clinics providing better care with increased adherence to guideline recommendations, more timely referral for surgery and better patient education than conventional care.
Rakhee Hindocha, David Garry, Nadia Short, Tom E Ingram, Richard P Steeds, Claire Louise Colebourn, Keith Pearce and Vishal Sharma
The British Society of Echocardiography has previously outlined a minimum dataset for a standard trans-thoracic echocardiogram, and this remains the basis on which an echocardiographic study should be performed. The importance of ultrasound in excluding critical conditions that may require urgent treatment is well known. Several point-of-care echo protocols have been developed for use by non-echocardiography specialists. However, these protocols are often only used in specific circumstances and are usually limited to 2D echocardiography. Furthermore, although the uptake in training for these protocols has been reasonable, there is little in the way of structured support available from accredited sonographers in the ongoing training and re-accreditation of those undertaking these point of care scans. In addition, it is well recognised that the provision of echocardiography on a 24/7 basis is extremely challenging, particularly outside of tertiary cardiac centres. Consequently, following discussions with NHS England, the British Society of Echocardiography have developed the level 1 echocardiogram in order to support the rapid identification of critical cardiac pathology that may require emergency treatment. It is intended that these scans will be performed by non-specialists in echocardiography and crucially is not designed to replace a full standard trans-thoracic echocardiogram. Indeed, it is expected that a significant number of patients in whom a level 1 echocardiogram is required, will need to have a full echocardiogram performed as soon as is practically possible. This document outlines the minimum dataset for a level 1 echocardiogram. The accreditation process for level 1 echo is described separately.
Sarah Ritzmann, Stephanie Baker, Marcus Peck, Tom E Ingram, Jane Allen, Laura Duffy, Richard P Steeds, Andrew Houghton, Andrew Elkington, Nina Bual, Robert Huggett, Keith Pearce, Stavros Apostolakis, Khalatabari Afshin and the British Society of Echocardiography Departmental Accreditation and Clinical Standards Committees with input from the Intensive Care Society
This article sets out a summary of standards for departmental accreditation set by the British Society of Echocardiography (BSE) Departmental Accreditation Committee. Full accreditation standards are available at www.bsecho.org. The BSE were the first national organisation to establish a quality standards framework for departments that support the practice of individual echocardiographers. This is an updated version which recognises that, not only should all echocardiographers be individually accredited as competent to practice, but that departments also need to be well organised and have the facilities, equipment and processes to ensure the services they deliver are of an appropriate clinical standard. In combination with individual accreditation, departmental accreditation lays down standards to help ensure safe and effective patient care. These standards supersede the 2012 BSE Departmental Accreditation Standards. Standards are set to cover all potential areas of practice, including transthoracic (level 2) echocardiography, transoesophageal echocardiography, stress echocardiography, training, and emergency (level 1) echocardiography. The emergency echocardiography standard is a new addition to departmental accreditation and has been developed with input from the Intensive Care Society.
Abbas Zaidi, Daniel S Knight, Daniel X Augustine, Allan Harkness, David Oxborough, Keith Pearce, Liam Ring, Shaun Robinson, Martin Stout, James Willis, Vishal Sharma and the Education Committee of the British Society of Echocardiography
The structure and function of the right side of the heart is influenced by a wide range of physiological and pathological conditions. Quantification of right heart parameters is important in a variety of clinical scenarios including diagnosis, prognostication, and monitoring response to therapy. Although echocardiography remains the first-line imaging investigation for right heart assessment, published guidance is relatively sparse in comparison to that for the left ventricle. This guideline document from the British Society of Echocardiography describes the principles and practical aspects of right heart assessment by echocardiography, including quantification of chamber dimensions and function, as well as assessment of valvular function. While cut-off values for normality are included, a disease-oriented approach is advocated due to the considerable heterogeneity of structural and functional changes seen across the spectrum of diseases affecting the right heart. The complex anatomy of the right ventricle requires special considerations and echocardiographic techniques, which are set out in this document. The clinical relevance of right ventricular diastolic function is introduced, with practical guidance for its assessment. Finally, the relatively novel techniques of three-dimensional right ventricular echocardiography and right ventricular speckle tracking imaging are described. Despite these techniques holding considerable promise, issues relating to reproducibility and inter-vendor variation have limited their clinical utility to date.
Thomas E Ingram, Steph Baker, Jane Allen, Sarah Ritzmann, Nina Bual, Laura Duffy, Chris Ellis, Karina Bunting, Noel Black, Marcus Peck, Sandeep S Hothi, Vishal Sharma, Keith Pearce, Richard P Steeds, Navroz Masani and the British Society of Echocardiography Clinical Standards and Departmental Accreditation Committees
Quality assurance (QA) of echocardiographic studies is vital to ensure that clinicians can act on findings of high quality to deliver excellent patient care. To date, there is a paucity of published guidance on how to perform this QA. The British Society of Echocardiography (BSE) has previously produced an Echocardiography Quality Framework (EQF) to assist departments with their QA processes. This article expands on the EQF with a structured yet versatile approach on how to analyse echocardiographic departments to ensure high-quality standards are met. In addition, a process is detailed for departments that are seeking to demonstrate to external bodies adherence to a robust QA process.
The EQF consists of four domains. These include assessment of Echo Quality (including study acquisition and report generation); Reproducibility & Consistency (including analysis of individual variability when compared to the group and focused clinical audit), Education & Training (for all providers and service users) and Customer & Staff Satisfaction (of both service users and patients/their carers). Examples of what could be done in each of these areas are presented. Furthermore, evidence of participation in each domain is categorised against a red, amber or green rating: with an amber or green rating signifying that a quantifiable level of engagement in that aspect of QA has been achieved.
The proposed EQF is a powerful tool that focuses the limited time available for departmental QA on areas of practice where a change in patient experience or outcome is most likely to occur.