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Frontiers of Medicine >> 2012, Volume 6, Issue 3 doi: 10.1007/s11684-012-0212-8

Emergent limited perioperative transesophageal echocardiography: should new guidelines exist for limited echocardiography training for anesthesiologists?

Department of Anesthesiology, University of Florida College of Medicine, PO Box 100254 JHMHSC, Gainesville, FL 32610-0254, USA

Available online: 2012-09-05

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Bedside limited echocardiography, or focused cardiac ultrasound, continues to gain popularity in many emergency rooms, intensive care units, and operating rooms as a rapid method of assessing unstable patients. Effective monitoring of cardiovascular function in conditions like cardiac arrest or near-arrest is the crucial step to guide successful resuscitative efforts. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) has emerged as one of the preferred cardiac diagnostic and monitoring modalities in the intraoperative setting due to the fact that it is less invasive than many other monitors, is immediately accessible, and allows for continuous real-time monitoring of cardiac function. However, the minimum training requirements needed for the anesthesia provider to obtain the competency, knowledge, and skills for basic certification in perioperative TEE far exceed those developed for other medical specialties. We believe there is an urgent need to develop (1) practical guidelines for emergent perioperative TEE use for anesthesiologists and (2) a requisite educational curriculum to teach the basic skills necessary to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrest or near-arrest scenarios. The measures elucidated in this report summarize the efforts of the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Florida in establishing the necessary steps to make this process not only practical, but accessible to all trainees. We hope that these collective efforts will provide more trainees the confidence in utilizing TEE to aid in establishing a diagnosis in critical situations.

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