Training Guidelines for Physicians Who Evaluate and Interpret Diagnostic Fetal Echocardiographic Examinations

Physicians who evaluate and interpret diagnostic fetal echocardiographic examinations should be licensed medical practitioners who have a thorough understanding of the indications and guidelines for ultrasound examinations as well as familiarity with the basic physical principles and limitations of the technology of ultrasound imaging. They should be familiar with alternative and complementary imaging and diagnostic procedures and should be capable of correlating the results of these other procedures with the ultrasound examination findings. They should have an understanding of ultrasound technology and instrumentation, ultrasound power output, equipment calibration, and safety. Physicians responsible for ultrasound examinations should be able to demonstrate familiarity with the anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of those organs or anatomic areas that are being examined. These physicians should provide evidence of training and requisite competence needed to successfully perform and interpret diagnostic ultrasound examinations in fetal echocardiography. The training should include methods of documentation and reporting of ultrasound studies.

Physicians performing and/or interpreting diagnostic fetal echo cardiographic examinations should meet 1 of the following:

1. Completion of an approved residency and/or fellowship program that includes structured training in fetal echocardiography under the supervision of a qualified physician(s),* during which time the trainee will have been involved in the performance, interpretation, and reporting of a minimum of 50 fetal echocardiographic examinations and review of an additional 50 fetal echocardiograms. At least 20 of these 100** fetal echocardiograms should be abnormal.

a.  If completion of the residency and/or fellowship program occurred more than 36 months ago:

i. Evidence of 10 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ dedicated to fetal echocardiography must be documented within the previous 36 months; and

ii.  Supervision and/or performance, interpretation, and reporting of at least 75 fetal echocardiographic examinations in the previous 36 months must be demonstrated.

2. For completion of a residency and/or fellowship program in which the physician did not receive structured training in fetal echocardiography, documentation of clinical experience could be acceptable providing the following could be demonstrated:

b.  Evidence of 30 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ dedicated to diagnostic fetal echocardiography within the previous 36 months; and

c. Involvement in the performance, interpretation, and reporting of a minimum of 50 fetal echocardiographic examinations and review of an additional 50 fetal echocardiograms in the previous 36 months. At least 20 of these 100** fetal echocardiograms should be abnormal. It is expected that in most circumstances, examinations will be under the supervision of a qualified physician(s).*

Maintenance of Competence

All physicians performing fetal echocardiographic examinations should demonstrate evidence of continuing competence in the interpretation and reporting of those examinations. A minimum of 25 diagnostic fetal echocardiograms per year, including 2 abnormal examinations, is recommended to maintain the physician's skills.

Continuing Medical Education in Fetal Echocardiography

The physician should complete 10 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ specific to fetal or pediatric echocardiography every 3 years.

 

 

*A qualified physician is one who, at minimum, meets the criteria defined above in this document.

**One hundred fetal echocardiograms were selected as a minimum number needed to gain experience and proficiency with sonography as a diagnostic modality. This is necessary to develop technical skills, to appreciate the practical applications of basic physics as it affects image quality and artifact formation, and to acquire an experience base for understanding the range of normal and recognizing deviations from normal.

 


Approved: 04/10/2013; Reapproved: 11/02/2014, 10/31/2015, 03/25/2018

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