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Specialized Point-of-Care Ultrasound Training Linked to Positive Changes in Anesthesia Care

San Francisco, CA—April 6, 2017

Anesthesiologists who received specialized training in focused cardiac ultrasound reported using those skills to improve management and guide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the perioperative setting, according to a study presented by anesthesiologists from Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS).

This specialized training, known as focus assessed transthoracic echocardiography (FATE), is a powerful set of clinical skills that enable anesthesiologists to more rapidly evaluate for potentially worrisome heart and lung conditions that can occur in the surgical setting, but might otherwise be missed without the use of ultrasound imaging.

"Few courses are currently available to adequately train physicians on how to incorporate this tool into their daily practice," said Stephen C. Haskins, MD, anesthesiologist and lead investigator for the study.

FATE training allows anesthesiologists to combine ultrasound evaluation of the heart and lungs at the bedside as a supplement to traditional means of assessment, such as interpretation of vital signs and analysis with a stethoscope. The ability to look inside with ultrasound imagining enables anesthesiologists and surgical teams to respond quickly and more effectively to potentially life threatening conditions such as hypovolemia and pneumothorax.

Researchers reviewed survey response data from 59 clinicians who indicated they had regional anesthesiology training or regularly practice regional anesthesia who underwent basic FATE certification at HSS for their study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Regional Anesthesiologists on April 6 in San Francisco, California.

"This formal evaluation of the basic FATE course provides insight into how FATE is used to guide clinical decision making for practicing regional anesthesiologists and helps identify major barriers to its implementation," said Dr. Haskins.

Of the respondents, 86 percent believe that FATE training should be mandatory in an anesthesia academic curriculum and 45.8 percent reported using FATE to guide clinical decision making since completing the course -- including using FATE skills to assess for left ventricular function, hypovolemia, and pneumothorax. Although 49 percent of past participants agreed or strongly agreed that FATE training has positively improved their current practice, 51 percent of survey respondents reported a lack of opportunity and 41 percent reported a lack of resources barring them from using these skills in the operating room.

"Implementation of a formal training course in FATE is associated with a positive change in current professional practice. More universal adaptation of focused cardiac ultrasound training, such as FATE, should be adapted by anesthesia training programs, noted the researchers." noted Dr. Haskins.


Lui JS, Luu TH, Haskins SC, Fields KG, Beckman JD, Hargett MJ. “Impact of the Basic Focused Assessed Transthoracic Echocardiography (FATE) Training Course on Practicing Regional Anesthesiologists.” Poster presented at: 2017 ASRA Annual Meeting; April 6-8, 2017; San Francisco, CA.


About HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery
HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the ninth consecutive year) and No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S.News & World Report (2018-2019). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has one of the lowest infection rates in the country and was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. The global standard total knee replacement was developed at HSS in 1969. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State. In 2017 HSS provided care to 135,000 patients and performed more than 32,000 surgical procedures. People from all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries travelled to receive care at HSS. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. The HSS Global Innovation Institute was formed in 2016 to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The culture of innovation is accelerating at HSS as 130 new idea submissions were made to the Global Innovation Institute in 2017 (almost 3x the submissions in 2015). The HSS Education Institute is the world’s leading provider of education on the topic of musculoskeletal health, with its online learning platform offering more than 600 courses to more than 21,000 medical professional members worldwide. Through HSS Global Ventures, the institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally.


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