Examination Protocol
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ECHO Manual


Manual of Operations Echocardiography Field Center

Hispanic Community Health Study Study of Latinos

Examination Protocol

Getting Started

The study sonographer will introduce themselves to the study participant and explain the nature of the examination. This should include: 

  • Length of examination: 30 minutes
  • The participant will need to remove their shirt.
  • There may be some mild discomfort from the ultrasound gel and firm pressure from the ultrasound probe.

ECG leads will be applied and ECG gain settings will be optimized to ensure a high quality tracing.

The sonographer will enter the participants HCHS-SOL ID into the echo machine.  This will be provided by the field center coordinator. DO NOT ENTER THE PARTICPANT'S NAME OR ANY OTHER IDENTIFYING INFORMATION.

The participant will be instructed to lie down in the left lateral decubitus position for the examination.

The loop acquisition length will be set as follows:

Set by BEATS if:

  • Normal sinus rhythm – 3 beats
  • Accelerated sinus rhythm/ sinus tachycardia (> 90 bpm) – 5 beats

Set by TIME if:

  • Atrial fibrillation – 5 seconds
  • Frequent premature beats – 3 seconds

Beginning the acquisition protocol (General information)

Care must be given to optimize all acquired images.

  • All cardiac images and Doppler tracings should be scaled to the appropriate size to make optimal use of the display screen.
  • All 2D imaging should be acquired with harmonic imaging on.
  • Gain settings should be employed to keep the chamber cavities darkened and to bring out the optimal endocardial resolution.
  • If respiratory changes in image quality are noted, the participant should be instructed to hold their breath during the acquisition.
  • The sweep speed for all spectral Doppler and M-mode acquisitions should be 100 ms/cm.
  • All spectral Doppler and M-mode tracings should include 3 cardiac cycles if in sinus rhythm and 10 cardiac cycles if there is rhythm irregularity.

Key Measurements

All measurements will be made at the Echocardiography Reading Center.

The views from which the key research study measurements are made are highlighted in the protocol so that particular attention will be made to facilitate accurate measurement.