Contemporary vascular ultrasound (VUS) practice requires defined protocols based on up-to-date standards and guidelines (S+G). Various specialty societies and accreditation agencies have published such standards. This study aims to identify common elements, variations and documented references available in S+G.
An electronic literature search for vascular ultrasound: standards, guidelines, protocols, accreditation and practice was conducted. Identified resources were parsed for domains, elements and references; a spreadsheet of such details was created to allow for comparison. Common elements and variations were tabulated.
S+G were retrieved from SVU, IAC, AIUM, ACC, ACR, ESVS, NICE, CPSO and various national and international resources. The protocols for standard VUS tests (n= 20 ), time for testing (n= 20 ), guidelines for indications (n= 35), requirements for patient and staff safety, privacy and infection control (n= 8 ), interpretation criteria (n= 2 ) and references (n= 320) revealed common themes in 55 %. Resource publication dates ranged from 2005 to 2020; references from 1995 to 2018. Standards showed varying numbers of indications ( 2-11 ); only 3 included safety, privacy and infection control material. Overall, no single G+S document covered all domains.
Comprehensive up-to-date references are available to develop and update a facility’s protocol manual. No single S+G is complete; combining the information from 2 or 3 provides better guidance. Despite recent publication dates, many references are obsolete.
Douglas Wooster, Professor of Surgery, University of Toronto