Echocardiography practice, training and accreditation in the intensive care: Document for the World Interactive Network Focused on Critical Ultrasound (WINFOCUS)

Susanna Price, Gabriele Via, Erik Sloth, Fabio Guarracino, Raoul Breitkreutz, Emanuele Catena, Daniel Talmor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Echocardiography is increasingly used in the management of the critically ill patient as a non-invasive diagnostic and monitoring tool. Whilst in few countries specialized national training schemes for intensive care unit (ICU) echocardiography have been developed, specific guidelines for ICU physicians wishing to incorporate echocardiography into their clinical practice are lacking. Further, existing echocardiography accreditation does not reflect the requirements of the ICU practitioner. The WINFOCUS (World Interactive Network Focused On Critical UltraSound) ECHO-ICU Group drew up a document aimed at providing guidance to individual physicians, trainers and the relevant societies of the requirements for the development of skills in echocardiography in the ICU setting. The document is based on recommendations published by the Royal College of Radiologists, British Society of Echocardiography, European Association of Echocardiography and American Society of Echocardiography, together with international input from established practitioners of ICU echocardiography. The recommendations contained in this document are concerned with theoretical basis of ultrasonography, the practical aspects of building an ICU-based echocardiography service as well as the key components of standard adult TTE and TEE studies to be performed on the ICU. Specific issues regarding echocardiography in different ICU clinical scenarios are then described. Obtaining competence in ICU echocardiography may be achieved in different ways - either through completion of an appropriate fellowship/training scheme, or, where not available, via a staged approach designed to train the practitioner to a level at which they can achieve accreditation. Here, peri-resuscitation focused echocardiography represents the entry level - obtainable through established courses followed by mentored practice. Next, a competence-based modular training programme is proposed: theoretical elements delivered through blended-learning and practical elements acquired in parallel through proctored practice. These all linked with existing national/international echocardiography courses. When completed, it is anticipated that the practitioner will have performed the prerequisite number of studies, and achieved the competency to undertake accreditation (leading to Level 2 competence) via a recognized National or European examination and provide the appropriate required evidence of competency (logbook). Thus, even where appropriate fellowships are not available, with support from the relevant echocardiography bodies, training and subsequently accreditation in ICU echocardiography becomes achievable within the existing framework of current critical care and cardiological practice, and is adaptable to each countrie's needs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
JournalCardiovascular Ultrasound
Publication statusPublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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