Appropriate Use Criteria for paediatric echocardiography in an outpatient practice: A validation study

Mark J. Cartoski, Meghan Kiley, Philip J. Spevak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Although transthoracic echocardiography is the dominant imaging modality in CHD, optimal utilisation is unclear. We assessed whether adherence to the paediatric Appropriate Use Criteria for outpatient transthoracic echocardiography could reduce inappropriate use without missing significant cardiac disease.Methods Using the Appropriate Use Criteria, we determined the indication and appropriateness rating for each initial echocardiogram performed at our institution during calendar year 2014 (N=1383). Chart review documented ordering provider training, patient demographics, and study result, classified as normal, abnormal, or abnormal motivating treatment within a 2-year follow-up period. We tested whether provider training level or patient age correlated with echocardiographic findings or appropriateness rating.Results We found that 83.9% of echocardiograms were normal and that 66.7% had an appropriate indication. Nearly all abnormal results and all results motivating treatment were in appropriate studies, giving an odds ratio of 2.73 for an abnormal result if an appropriate indication was present (95% confidence interval 1.92-3.89, p<0.001). None of the remaining initial abnormal results with less than appropriate indications became significant, resulting in treatment over 2 years. Results suggest a potential reduction in imaging volume of as much as 33% with application of the criteria. Cardiologists ordered nearly all studies resulting in treatment but also more echocardiograms with less appropriate indications. Most examinations were in older patients; however, most abnormal results were in patients younger than 1 year.Conclusions The Appropriate Use Criteria can be used to safely reduce echocardiography volume while still detecting significant heart disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-867
Number of pages6
JournalCardiology in the young
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Echocardiography
  • appropriate use
  • paediatric
  • quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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