Introduction The American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF) along with the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) have enabled an accurate and clinically oriented evaluation of echocardiography indications by introducing Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC). Aim This study was designed to evaluate the degree of implementation of AUC for transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) during daily clinical practice in a tertiary university hospital in Greece during the era of economic recession. Materials and Methods From November 2014 to May 2014, we prospectively enrolled 300 patients who were examined in the Echocardiography Laboratory of the First University Cardiology. We recorded the participants' demographic and clinical characteristics using questionnaires and followed a scoring process according to ACCF guidelines to classify patients into an appropriate, inappropriate or uncertain category. The primary endpoint was to assess the association between the class of appropriateness and abnormal TEE results. Results In 89.4% of patients labelled appropriate, TEE was abnormal and significantly higher compared to patients of uncertain eligibility (50%) and to patients for whom TEE was considered to be inappropriate (35%) (p < 0.001). Subgroup analysis revealed a positive association between AUC and an increased possibility for abnormal TEE in female subjects (p = 0.001) as well as in patients who were younger than 50 years old (p < 0.001). A significant association was finally established between AUC and abnormal findings in TEE in patients with no risk factors (p = 0.028) and in patients with more than 3 risk factors (p = 0.013). Conclusion TEE constitutes a medical practice with an optimal cost/effectiveness ratio and should be further encouraged in our country in accordance with the austerity policy as long as the AUC are generally applied.
Georgiopoulos, G., Aggeli, C., Laina, A., Deligianni, M., Oikonomou, D., Lampridou, S., … Tousoulis, D. (2017). Appropriate use criteria for transesophageal echocardiography in Greece: A single center experience. Hellenic Journal of Cardiology, 58(4), 267–273. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hjc.2016.12.005