Position statement: Echocardiography in 16-17 year olds

Published 30/12/2021

In light of the increasing number of referrals into adult echo services for outpatient echocardiography imaging of 16-17 year olds, we recommend the following as a practice guideline. Practice will necessarily vary from centre to centre depending upon the availability and interaction with local paediatric echo services.

  1. It is safe for qualified adult echocardiographers to perform and report transthoracic echocardiography on patients aged 16-17. Standard adult reporting datasets can be used. Adult imaging equipment can be used. Care should be taken over appropriate chaperoning.
  2. The following caveats are acknowledged:
    1. Patients aged 16-17 with known complex congenital heart disease should only be scanned by a suitably experienced sonographer in an adult service through agreement between the paediatric and adult teams: this may be deemed appropriate on a case by case basis.
    2. Patients aged 16-17 in whom the referral question relates to the late effects of COVID-19 (PIMS) should be scanned by specialist paediatric services or adult sonographers with appropriate awareness of the potential pathologies and scanning capabilities to identify coronary aneurysms.
      1. In an emergency setting an experienced adult sonographer may appropriately be called upon to identify pathology requiring immediate management, for example severe left ventricular dysfunction.
      2. Escalation pathways for a positive finding of coronary aneurysms should be clearly signposted to the sonographer.
    3. Experienced sonographers should oversee the triage of these referrals in order to direct patients to the most appropriate service (i.e. adult or paediatric), dependent on the pathology under investigation and/or clinical background of the patient.

BSE Council December 2021

Endorsed by: