Guidelines Updated for Contrast Agent Use in Clinical Echocardiography
(HealthDay News) — Initiatives have been developed to improve the appropriate use of contrast media in echocardiography. The guidelines were published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography.
Thomas R. Porter, MD, from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, and colleagues developed an updated guide for sonographers related to the use of contrast media in medical imaging.
The researchers recommend encouraging programs and initiatives that will help sonographers to improve use of contrast in critical care settings, where the beneficial effects of contrast are increasingly being recognized. Prospective studies should be conducted to assess the value of contrast in these settings. The authors note that contrast media is currently not being used uniformly, and use is inappropriately low. Initiatives to improve appropriate use include: (1) working with various organizations to increase awareness of the value of contrast media in different settings; (2) rebranding to "ultrasound enhancing agent;" (3) increasing the number of trained sonographers; and (4) recommending that industry implement very low mechanical index software for all two- and three-dimensional platforms, which should be branded "optimal enhancement" software.
"This document is designed to help sonographers overcome the technical and administrative barriers to contrast utilization," the authors write. "With further technological modifications and the adoption of ultrasound enhancement agents into clinical echocardiographic practice, we anticipate additional updates to these guidelines in the future."
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.