Use of Targeted Neonatal Echocardiography and Focused Cardiac Sonography in Tertiary Neonatal Intensive Care Units
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Focused cardiac sonography and targeted neonatal echocardiography refer to goal-directed cardiac imaging using ultrasound, typically by noncardiologic specialists. Although the former consists of a rapid qualitative assessment of cardiac function, which is usually performed by acute care practitioners, the latter refers to detailed functional echocardiography to obtain quantitative and qualitative indexes of pulmonary and systemic hemodynamics in sick neonates and is typically performed by neonatologists. Although the use of these modalities is increasing, they still remain unavailable in most North American centers providing acute care to neonates, partly because of limited data regarding their direct impact on patient care. Here we present a series of 5 cases from a large perinatal unit in which immediate availability of relevant expertise led to important and arguably life-saving clinical interventions. In 4 of these cases, focused cardiac sonography was sufficient to make the diagnosis, whereas in 1 case, clinical integration of detailed systemic hemodynamics measured on target neonatal echocardiography was required.
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