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Patients Needing Heart Tests Should Talk to Their Doctors About Radiation-Free Diagnostic Options, Including Cardiovascular Ultrasound
Date:9/6/2011

of settings ranging from the operating room to the battlefield, where it is used by medics, and even to the International Space Station, where astronauts regularly perform echocardiograms on each other.  Physicians have seen the extraordinary advances in patient care that can be attained through quality heart ultrasound, including guided interventions in the operating room and catheterization lab which allow for accurate diagnosis and treatment in patients requiring valve repair and replacement, repair of aortic dissection, diagnosis of causes of stroke, detection of infections involving the heart valves, and diagnosis and management of heart failure, to name just a few.

Concerned that consumers may not be getting the right tests, the Society is focused on efforts to ensure that the appropriate cardiovascular test is performed on the right person at the right time to promote patient safety and optimal cardiac health. ASE has worked to create guidelines to better streamline care, and has developed decision-making trees to help clinicians quickly decide when tests should be performed and which tests would best meet the needs of their patients. The Appropriate Use Criteria for Echocardiography (AUC) was recently revised by the ASE in partnership with the American College of Cardiology and other subspecialty organizations to help define the conditions under which specific tests should be performed based on an evidence-based approach to cardiac care. While echocardiographers are widely available, ASE urges consumers to make sure their echocardiography laboratories are accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL) and physicians are certified by the National Board of Echocardiography (NBE). ASE's patient care Website, www.seemyheart.org, is a great resource for patients seeking accredited labs and board-certified physicians. The site also offers information to
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SOURCE American Society of Echocardiography
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