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March 13, 2021 — Journal of Echocardiography



The use of enhancing agents in echocardiography has been shown to facilitate improved study quality. Despite the known benefits, its use remains limited by institutional policies.


We aimed to retrospectively evaluate if allowing sonographers to place a peripheral intravenous catheter and administer enhancing agent led to a decrease in time to complete outpatient transthoracic echocardiograms in comparison to using nursing personnel. Three separate protocols were employed. The ‘nurse driven protocol’ utilized nurses to place a peripheral intravenous catheter and inject enhancing agent. In a ‘mixed protocol,’ a nurse placed a peripheral intravenous catheter and the sonographer gave the enhancing agent. The ‘sonographer driven protocol’ involved the sonographer placing the peripheral intravenous catheter and delivering enhancing agent.


A total of 232 echocardiograms were included for analysis. Patient characteristics across the three protocols were not statistically significant. The ‘mixed protocol’ had an average study time that was significantly less than the ‘nurse driven protocol’ (49.4 min ± 11.4 vs 54.6 min ± 12.9; p = 0.024). The ‘sonographer driven protocol’ also showed a significant reduction in study time (50.3 min ± 12.6) when compared to the ‘nurse driven protocol’ (p = 0.017). The additional task for the sonographer to place the peripheral intravenous catheter did not significantly increase the time to complete the study. Conclusion Allowing sonographers to administer enhancing agent reduced individual echocardiogram study times by approx¬imately 5 min, supporting that a ‘sonographer driven protocol’ is more efficient with potential downstream economic benefits.

Authors: Courtney R. Usry 1; Satoshi R. Shin 2,3 · James K. Aden 2 · Rosco Gore 2

1 William Beaumont Army Medical Center, El Paso, TX; 2 Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, TX; 3 Naval Medical Center, San Diego, CA

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