Organisation of paediatric echocardiography laboratories and governance of echocardiography services and training in Europe: current status, disparities, and potential solutions. A survey from the Association for European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology (AEPC) imaging working group


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Cantinotti M., Voges I., Miller O., Raimondi F., Grotenhuis H., Bharucha T., ...More

CARDIOLOGY IN THE YOUNG, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/s1047951124000131
  • Journal Name: CARDIOLOGY IN THE YOUNG
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Background: There is limited data on the organisation of paediatric echocardiography laboratories in Europe.Methods: A structured and approved questionnaire was circulated across all 95 Association for European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology affiliated centres. The aims were to evaluate: (1) facilities in paediatric echocardiography laboratories across Europe, (2) accredited laboratories, (3) medical/paramedical staff employed, (4) time for echocardiographic studies and reporting, and (5) training, teaching, quality improvement, and research programs.Results: Respondents from forty-three centres (45%) in 22 countries completed the survey. Thirty-six centres (84%) have a dedicated paediatric echocardiography laboratory, only five (12%) of which reported they were European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging accredited. The median number of echocardiography rooms was three (range 1-12), and echocardiography machines was four (range 1-12). Only half of all the centres have dedicated imaging physiologists and/or nursing staff, while the majority (79%) have specialist imaging cardiologist(s). The median (range) duration of time for a new examination was 45 (20-60) minutes, and for repeat examination was 20 (5-30) minutes. More than half of respondents (58%) have dedicated time for reporting. An organised training program was present in most centres (78%), 44% undertake quality assurance, and 79% perform research. Guidelines for performing echocardiography were available in 32 centres (74%).Conclusion: Facilities, staffing levels, study times, standards in teaching/training, and quality assurance vary widely across paediatric echocardiography laboratories in Europe. Greater support and investment to facilitate improvements in staffing levels, equipment, and governance would potentially improve European paediatric echocardiography laboratories.