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  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

Survey of echocardiography provision and practice in ICUs in the United Kingdom

  • 1,
  • 2,
  • 3 and
  • 1
Critical Care201115 (Suppl 1) :P26

  • Published:


  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Training Programme
  • Critical Care
  • Training Process
  • Structure Questionnaire


Echocardiography in the intensive care unit (ITU) has been shown to be a valuable aid to clinical decision-making [13]. Currently, there is no formal training process for intensivists wishing to learn echocardiography in the United Kingdom, and there is little information on the current state of clinical practice.


A structured questionnaire was sent to each intensive care unit in the United Kingdom. The questionnaire detailed information regarding the availability of echocardiography and the frequency that echocardiograms are performed in the ITU. We enquired after the level of training in echocardiography by intensivists, the reporting process and availability of currently provided training. Opinions on the necessity of formalised training and the level of that training were also sought.


Responses were obtained from 32 units ranging in size from five to 35 critical care beds. A total of 53.13% have their own dedicated echo machine. Only 15.6% have a transoesophageal probe. In 28% of ITUs echocardiograms are performed by intensivists; however, only 25% of ITUs currently offer echocardiography training to intensive care trainees. Seventy-eight per cent of respondents believed that ITU physicians should have at least intermediate echocardiography skills; 97% respondents believed that a national training programme should be established for echocardiography practice by ITU physicians.


Echocardiography is currently widely used in ITUs throughout the United Kingdom but is often being performed by physicians with little or no formal training. There is almost unanimous support for a national structure and a formalised curriculum to achieve safe widespread training.

Authors’ Affiliations

Belfast City Hospital, Belfast, UK
Brighton and Sussex University Hospital, Brighton, UK
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, Australia


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  2. Breitkreutz R, et al.: Minerva Anesth. 2009, 75: 285-292.Google Scholar
  3. Price S, et al.: Intensive Care Med. 2006, 32: 48-59.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar


© Cooke et al. 2011

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.