Application of Appropriate Use Criteria for Initial Transthoracic Echocardiography in an Academic Outpatient Pediatric Cardiology Program

Raya Safa*, Sanjeev Aggarwal, Amrit Misra, Daisuke Kobayashi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is a non-invasive diagnostic modality for children with suspected heart disease. The American College of Cardiology published Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) for an initial outpatient pediatric TTE in 2014 to promote effective care and improve resource utilization. The objective was to determine the appropriateness of TTE per the published AUC in a single academic pediatric cardiology clinic as a baseline performance quality measure. The echocardiography database was used to identify initial outpatient TTE in children during January–March 2014. TTE indications (appropriate [A], may be appropriate [M], or rarely appropriate [R]) and findings (normal, incidental, or abnormal) were recorded. The effect of AUC and age groups on yield of abnormal TTE findings was analyzed. Of the 2166 screened studies, our study cohort consisted of 247 TTEs. Indications rated A, M, and R were found in 129, 27, and 90, respectively, and 1 was unclassifiable. Majority of TTE (n = 183) were normal, although incidental findings were noted in 32 and abnormal findings in 32 cases. Abnormal findings were noted in 26/129 of A, 2/27 of M, and 4/90 of R. Indications rated A were significantly associated with yield of abnormal TTE findings, adjusted by age group. Infants and adolescents were more likely to have abnormal TTE findings compared to young children. Recently published AUC were validated for initial TTE in the outpatient pediatric cardiology clinic. Appropriateness rated by AUC was highly associated with yield of abnormal TTE findings and worked best in infants and adolescent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1282-1287
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric cardiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Appropriate use criteria
  • Children
  • Outpatient
  • Transthoracic echocardiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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