Background: Focused cardiac ultrasound (FoCUS) is a simplified, clinician-performed application of echocardiography that is rapidly expanding in use, especially in emergency and critical care medicine. Performed by appropriately trained clinicians, typically not cardiologists, FoCUS ascertains the essential information needed in critical scenarios for time-sensitive clinical decision making. A need exists for quality evidence-based review and clinical recommendations on its use.
Methods: The World Interactive Network Focused on Critical UltraSound conducted an international, multispecialty, evidence-based, methodologically rigorous consensus process on FoCUS. Thirty-three experts from 16 countries were involved. A systematic multiple-database, double-track literature search (January 1980 to September 2013) was performed. The Grading of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation method was used to determine the quality of available evidence and subsequent development of the recommendations. Evidence-based panel judgment and consensus was collected and analyzed by means of the RAND appropriateness method.
Results: During four conferences (in New Delhi, Milan, Boston, and Barcelona), 108 statements were elaborated and discussed. Face-to-face debates were held in two rounds using the modified Delphi technique. Disagreement occurred for 10 statements. Weak or conditional recommendations were made for two statements and strong or very strong recommendations for 96. These recommendations delineate the nature, applications, technique, potential benefits, clinical integration, education, and certification principles for FoCUS, both for adults and pediatric patients.
Conclusions: This document presents the results of the first International Conference on FoCUS. For the first time, evidence-based clinical recommendations comprehensively address this branch of point-of-care ultrasound, providing a framework for FoCUS to standardize its application in different clinical settings around the world.
Keywords: Cardiac sonography; Cardiac ultrasound; Crit Care echocardiography; Critical ultrasound; Echocardiography; Emergency ultrasound; Evidence-based medicine; GRADE; Guideline; Point-of-care ultrasound; RAND.
Copyright © 2014. Published by Mosby, Inc.