Health Services Research & Development

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Trang A, Kampangkaew J, Fernandes R, Tiwana J, Misra A, Hamzeh I, Blaustein A, Aguilar D, Shah T, Ballantyne C, Quinones M, Nagueh SF, Dokanish H, Virani SS, Deswal A, Kirkpatrick JN, Nambi V. Understanding by General Providers of the Echocardiogram Report. The American journal of cardiology. 2019 Jul 15; 124(2):296-302.
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Abstract: Echocardiograms are the second most frequently utilized cardiac test after electrocardiograms and are most commonly ordered by noncardiology providers. Echocardiogram reports are designed to communicate a comprehensive interpretation of cardiac function; however, it is not known how well these reports are understood by ordering providers. In order to identify gaps in understanding and target potential areas for improvement, we developed a questionnaire testing various topics reported on a standard transthoracic echocardiogram report. This questionnaire was administered to general medicine and cardiology trainees and attending physicians at 2 large academic institutions. Questionnaire response rate was 81%. There were several topics that were not well understood by general providers; these included viability of an akinetic region, pulmonary artery systolic pressure, left ventricular filling pressure, recognition of abnormal structures, and method of identifying of intracardiac thrombus. In conclusion, strategies such as improved communication techniques and adjustment of reporting format should be implemented to increase the clinical value of the echocardiogram.