Sustained improvement in fellows' echocardiographic completeness through the coronavirus pandemic with a standardised imaging protocol

Brian R. White*, Kasey J. Chaszczewski, Bethan Lemley, Shobha S. Natarajan, Lindsay S. Rogers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


First-year cardiology fellows must quickly learn basic competency in echocardiography during fellowship orientation. This educational process was disrupted in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, as our hands-on echocardiography teaching transitioned from practice on paediatric volunteers to simulation-based training. We previously described an improvement in echocardiographic completeness after implementation of a standardised imaging protocol for the performance of acute assessments of ventricular function. Herein, we assessed whether this improvement could be sustained over the two subsequent years, including the fellowship year affected by the pandemic. Echocardiograms performed by first-year paediatric cardiology fellows to assess ventricular function were reviewed for completeness. The frequency with which each requested component was included was measured. A total demographic score (out of 7) and total imaging score (out of 23) were calculated. The pre-protocol years (2015-2017) were compared to the post-protocol years (2018-2020), and the pre-COVID years (2018-2019) were compared to the year affected by COVID (2020). There was a sustained improvement in completeness after protocol implementation with improvement in the demographic score (median increasing from 6 to 7, p < 0.001) and imaging score (median increasing from 13 to 16, p < 0.001). More individual components showed a statistically significant increase in frequency compared to our prior publication. The COVID pandemic resulted in very few differences in completeness. Demographic reporting improved modestly (p = 0.04); the imaging score was unchanged (p = 0.59). The only view obtained less frequently was the apical two-chamber view. A standardised imaging protocol allowed sustained improvements in echocardiographic completeness despite the disruption of fellowship orientation by COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-75
Number of pages7
JournalCardiology in the young
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 8 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Quality improvement
  • education
  • fellowship training
  • paediatric echocardiography
  • simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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