Appropriate use of echocardiography for palpitations in paediatric cardiology clinics

Saloni Sheth, Munes Fares, Sandra Kikano, Christopher Snyder, Andrew Dodgen, Carolyn M. Wilhelm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Identify diagnostic yield and frequency of echocardiograms for palpitation-related indications at outpatient paediatric cardiology clinics in relation to the 2014 ACC/AAP/AHA/ ASE/HRS/SCAI/SCCT/SCMR/SOPE appropriate use criteria for Initial Transthoracic Echocardiography in Outpatient Paediatric Cardiology. Study design: A single-centre, retrospective study of children presenting for evaluation of a chief complaint of palpitations to outpatient paediatric cardiology clinics from 2015 to 2017. Palpitations were defined as an unpleasant sensation of rapid, irregular, and/or forceful beating of the heart. Indications for echocardiogram in patients were retrospectively classified based on the appropriate use criteria as “appropriate,” “may be appropriate,” or “rarely appropriate.” The incidence of abnormal and incidental echocardiographic findings for each category was determined. Results: A total of 286 patients presented with palpitations, with 128 (52% female) meeting inclusion criteria. Exclusion criteria included patients with additional cardiac complaints, prior echocardiogram, or history of congenital heart disease. Echocardiograms were performed on 36 (28%) patients. The appropriate use criteria were retrospectively applied, and indications for their performance were classified as “appropriate” (n = 4), “may be appropriate” (n = 17), or “rarely appropriate” (n = 15). Minor echocardiographic abnormalities were present in 22% (n = 8) of echocardiograms obtained for all appropriate use criteria classifications. No moderate or severe echocardiographic abnormalities were found. Incidental findings were noted in eight echocardiograms. Conclusion: Echocardiography in the evaluation of “rarely appropriate” and “may be appropriate” palpitation-related indications is of low diagnostic yield.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCardiology in the Young
StateAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Echocardiography
  • Paediatric appropriate use criteria
  • Palpitations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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