Application of Appropriateness Criteria in Outpatient Transthoracic Echocardiography

James N. Kirkpatrick, Bonnie Ky, Hind W. Rahmouni, Julio A. Chirinos, Steven A. Farmer, Anjali V. Fields, Jeffrey Ogbara, Karen M. Eberman, Victor A. Ferrari, Frank E. Silvestry, Martin G. Keane, Alexander R. Opotowsky, Martin St John Sutton, Susan E. Wiegers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Background: Appropriateness criteria were applied to outpatient transthoracic echocardiographic (TTE) studies. Methods: Indications were rated as appropriate, inappropriate, or unclassifiable, considering provider-stated indications, previous TTE studies, symptom changes, and patient-stated indications. Clinically important new or unexpected findings were recorded. Results: Of 368 TTE studies, 206 (56%) were appropriate, 31 (8%) were inappropriate, and 131 (35%) were unclassifiable. Appropriateness was not correlated with patient or provider demographics. In 288 cases with prior TTE studies, there were 92 (32%) important new findings and 63 (22%) unexpected findings, of which 20% were from inappropriately ordered and 31% from unclassifiable TTE studies. Appropriateness was not associated with new (odds ratio, 1.23; 95% confidence interval, 0.48-3.18) or unexpected (odds ratio, 1.15; 95% confidence interval, 0.38-3.52) findings. Provider type and level of training were not correlated with new or unexpected findings. Conclusions: Many indications for TTE studies were unclassifiable. A high percentage of inappropriately ordered TTE studies yielded important information. Care must be taken in judging the value of TTE studies solely on the basis of appropriateness criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Appropriateness
  • Echocardiography
  • Outpatient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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