Background: Syncope is a common reason for outpatient transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). We studied the applicability of pediatric appropriate use criteria (AUC) on initial outpatient evaluation of children (≤18 years) with syncope. Methods: Data were obtained before (Phase I, April–September 2014) and after (Phase II, January-April 2015) the release of the AUC document from six participating pediatric cardiology centers. Site investigators determined the indication for TTE and assigned appropriateness rating based on the AUC document: Appropriate (A), May Be Appropriate (M), Rarely Appropriate (R), or “unclassifiable” (U) if it did not fit any scenario in the AUC document. Results: Of the total 4562 TTEs, 310 (6.8%) were performed for syncope: 174/2655 (6.6%) Phase I and 136/1907 (7.1%) Phase II, P=.44. Overall, 168 (50.5%) were for indications rated A, 63 (18.9%) for M, 79 (23.7%) for R, and 23 (6.9%) for U. Release of AUC did not change the appropriateness of TTEs [A=51.6% vs 49.0%, P=.63, R=20.2% vs 28.3%, P=.09]. Overall syncope-related R indications formed 15.7% of R indications for all the echocardiograms performed in the entire Pediatric Appropriate Use (PAUSE) study (11.9% Phase I and 22.4% Phase II, P=.002). TTEs were normal in majority of the patients except 7 that had incidental findings. Conclusions: In conclusion, syncope is a common reason for indications rated R and release of the AUC document did not improve appropriate utilization of TTE in syncope. Targeted educational interventions are needed to reduce unnecessary TTEs in children with syncope.
- appropriate use
- congenital heart defects
- congenital heart disease
- transthoracic echocardiography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine