Utilization of echocardiography in intensive care units: Results of an online survey in Germany

Felix Balzer, Ralf F. Trauzeddel, Martin Ertmer, Joachim Erb, Matthias Heringlake, Heinrich V. Groesdonk, Matthias Goepfert, Daniel A. Reuter, Michael Sander, Sascha Treskatsch*

*Corresponding author for this work


BACKGROUND: In patients with hemodynamic instability echocardiography has been recommended as the preferred modality to evaluate the underlying pathophysiology. However, due to the fact that recent scientific data on the utilization of echocardiography in German Intensive Care Units (ICU) are scarce, we sought to investigate current practice. METHODS: A structured, web-based, anonymized survey was performed from May until July 2015 among members of the German Interdisciplinary Association of Critical Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) consisting of 14 questions. Descriptive data analysis was performed. RESULTS: One hundred four intensivists participated in the survey. Two-thirds of participants (66%) used echocardiography regularly for hemodynamic monitoring and stated that it changed the therapy in 26-50% of the cases irrespective of the time performed after ordering the examination. Transthoracic (TTE) were more frequently used than transesophageal (TEE) examinations. Twenty-six percent of the participants held an echocardiography certificate with a formal examination, 27% completed a structured training without an examination and almost half of the questioned ICU personnel (47%) did not complete a comprehensive training. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this survey demonstrate a widespread utilization of echocardiography as part of routine diagnostic on frequent number of operative ICUs. However, there might be a lack of structured echocardiographic training especially for anesthesiologists.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMinerva Anestesiologica
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)263-270
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.03.2019

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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