Wessex Intensive Care Society (WICS)

Echocardiography

Southampton Trans-Thoracic Echocardiography for Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care (STEMI)

Author: Adrian Wong
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Aimed at consultants and trainees with little experience in trans-thoracic echocardiography. Faculty consisted of a mixture of anaesthetists, cardiologists and sonographers. Included in the pre-course material is a copy of “Pocket Guide to Perioperative and Critical Care Echocardiography”.

Untitled copy

The one day course is divided into a morning of lectures and an afternoon of practical sessions. Participants were limited to 10 in total.

The lectures covered

  • Course introduction and FATE Scanning
  • Sono-anatomy and the cardiac views in detail
  • Optimising image quality
  • LV Function and filling
  • Colour-flow Doppler and valvular pathology
  • Visualising the pleura and pericardium and identifying pneumothoraces
  • Quality control, reporting and FICE accreditation.

Well delivered from enthusiastic speakers. “Real world” images that illustrated the lectures were a welcome difference to the beautiful text-book images that the novice can only dream about. Rather appropriately, the last lecture of the morning on quality control and accreditation was a useful poke in the right direction for beginners trying to navigate the minefield of making the transition from keen amateurs to full FICE or even BSE accreditation. It also introduces the challenges and issues when it comes to setting up an echocardiography service in the non-cardiology setting.

Like most of these courses, the practical session of the afternoon was the highlight of the day. There were two circuits of 5 stations with participants rotating in pairs. Each of the circuits gave participants an opportunity to practice obtaining one of the standard views of FATE echocardiography including a station on lung scanning. Unlike other courses, the “models” were real life patients rather than fit-healthy and perhaps more importantly, slim individuals. The second circuit had patients with actual pathology. I am not going to reveal what the abnormalities were and spoil it for future participants.

Overall, the course was a good introduction to critical care and peri-operative echocardiography. Personally I would have preferred more practical time but equally, FICE accreditations requires some theoretical knowledge and underlying principals, hence the relevance of the lectures. However, make no mistake, the key to learning echocardiography is actual bedside experience with a mentor and expert. The course will arm you with the knowledge and basic skills to build echocardiography competence.

DOI: Candidate on 8th November 2013 course

Please email
if you would like more details about this course and future dates

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