Practice of Echocardiography During the COVID 19 Pandemic: Guidance from the Canadian Society of Echocardiography

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis and as such poses significant risk to our community and its health care providers. Echocardiography remains a critically important cardiac imaging modality that cardiac specialists use to assess and help manage patients with cardiovascular diseases. These will include patients infected with COVID-19 who may present due to several factors: 1) patients with COVID-19 may have similar symptoms to cardiac patients (dyspnea, chest discomfort), 2) COVID-19 can result in cardiovascular manifestations including myocardial injury, myocarditis and/or cardiomyopathy and 3) pre-existing cardiovascular disease is common in COVID-19 patients and is associated with worse outcomes. Our practice entails close contact with our patients during scanning, and as such our practitioners are at high risk for infection particularly when caring for patients confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19. In the current context of confirmed community spread, increased vigilance is necessary through escalating precautions. Echocardiography labs must be prepared to adjust their practices to best serve their patients and aid in the management of COVID-19 patients, while doing their best to protect their staff and keep their community safe during this pandemic. 

The following guidance and recommendations reflect input from the Board of the Canadian Society of Echocardiography (CSE) and key opinion leaders from the echocardiography community across Canada. We recognize that recommendations may change as the situation evolves and evidence accumulates to better inform our practice. 

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