Objective: To establish the number of neonatal intensive care units (NICU) in Australia and New Zealand where echocardiography is performed by neonatologists, and to establish attitudes to the training of neonatologists in echocardiography.
Methodology: A survey was conducted of the directors of all 29 level 3 NICU in the Australian and New Zealand Neonatal Network. Replies were received from all NICU.
Results: In 41% of NICU, a neonatologist provides the primary echocardiography service, with half these units having more than one neonatologist with skills. Sixty-eight per cent of the other units would like a neonatologist to develop these skills in the future. Units without a neonatologist with echocardiographic skills were generally less satisfied with their service, benefits and problems for both types of unit are described. Eleven per cent of units felt neonatologists should not be doing echocardiography and 96% of units felt training guidelines should be established.
Conclusions: Ultrasound in neonatology and other specialties is moving beyond its traditional boundaries and becoming part of the acute care doctors' diagnostic repertoire. This trend needs to be recognized in the specialty training and the ultrasound accreditation processes.