The Echocardiography Laboratory at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Systems (ACH) is an IAC accredited full-service, state of the art program providing all facets of congenital cardiac imaging. We perform nearly 10,000 transthoracic echocardiograms, 400 transesophageal, and 900 fetal echocardiograms per year.
Our teaching philosophy for training fellows is that echocardiography is a foundational tool with which the cardiology fellows builds their knowledge base in congenital heart disease. Echocardiography interpretation skills are important in the majority of pediatric cardiology roles the fellow will choose. Therefore, our aim is to provide the trainee with the opportunity to become an exceptional echocardiographer by the end of the categorical fellowship and be prepared to fully function as an imaging pediatric cardiologist.
The Echo lab at ACH maintains advanced equipment and first-rate ultrasound technology for the performance of 2, 3 and 4 Dimensional, Doppler and strain imaging from transthoracic and transesophageal modalities. A diverse brand of full-size ultrasound units is used daily including: GE Vivid-E95, Voluson-E8 and Vivid-IQ; Philips iE33, EPIQ-7C and CX- 50.
Our interpretation and reporting platform is Syngo Dynamics. This system also houses the cardiac catheterization data, such that echocardiograms and catheterization studies can be retrieved simultaneously for comparison. Stand-alone desktop software systems including GE QLab and Philips EchoPAC are available for offline advanced 3D and myocardial deformation/strain evaluation.
The echocardiography lab at Arkansas Children’s is located within the Cardiology Clinic area. The sonographer arena, the physician reading room, the fetal reading and telemedicine room, and 6 echo exam rooms are immediately adjacent to the main clinic space. The NICU is on the floor directly above the cardiology clinic, and the cardiac intensive care unit is 2 floors directly above the clinic, making the lab optimally positioned for portable studies.
We additionally perform echocardiograms at Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW) and Arkansas Children’s Jonesboro Cardiology clinic. These studies are read at our main campus in Little Rock.
ACH has a network of 28 hospitals within the State of Arkansas that rely on us for interpretation of pediatric echocardiograms. Studies performed at these hospitals and clinics are digitally transmitted to the PACs system at the Arkansas Children’s campus in Little Rock and are interpreted and reported same day by our cardiologists.
Fellow education in echocardiography at Arkansas Children’s provides the learner with an advanced level of knowledge, skills, and training that mirrors the expectations for a fourth year trained pediatric echocardiography fellow as outlined by the American Society of Echocardiography.
Fetal Echocardiography Laboratory
The Fetal Heart Center at Arkansas Children’s Hospital performs approximately 1000 fetal echocardiograms per year and is staffed by six physicians, two nurses, and six fetal cardiac sonographers. We collaborate with the Arkansas Fetal Diagnosis and Management Group within UAMS, which includes Maternal Fetal Medicine Obstetricians as well as Neonatologists. We utilize multidisciplinary clinics and monthly meetings with these groups to discuss and plan patient management and receive post-natal follow up information.
The Fetal Heart Center serves as a bridge for families into the Arkansas Children’s Care Network. As Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the only congenital cardiac surgical center in the state, the fetal cardiac patients identified by our practice as needing timely cardiac evaluations are typically delivered at UAMS and then transferred to ACH for further medical management and surgical care.
Cardiology Fellows within our section begin learning about fetal cardiology as soon as they begin their fellowship. Monthly fetal conferences are held for the education of the Pediatric Cardiology Fellows, Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellows, and Neonatology Fellows. Elective rotations in our Fetal Clinic are available during fellowship, with the opportunity for hands-on scanning.