JASE Gets to the Heart of Things!

The February JASE contains a pre-clinical investigation, “Left Ventricular Longitudinal Strain as a Marker for Point of No Return in Hypertensive Heart Failure Treatment,” written by Tomoko Ishizu, MD, PhD, Yoshihiro Seo, MD, PhD, Mikiko Namekawa, MSc, Nobuyuki Murakoshi, MD, PhD, Masaki Ieda, MD, PhD, and Yasushi Kawakami, MD, PhD. Dr. Seo shares with JASE readers that, “We investigated when is the “point of no return” (PNR) or point when response to ACE-inhibitor therapy is less effective in the hypertensive heart failure model in the rat. We revealed that the combination of longitudinal and circumferential strain could identify the PNR and the period just before the PNR.” Another pre-clinical article explores how therapeutic ultrasound improves myocardial blood flow and reduces infarct size in a canine model of coronary microthromboembolism.

Clinical investigations in the issue feature echocardiography in heart failure, implications of diastolic function assessed by echocardiography, intraoperative echocardiography, improving the measurement of the tricuspid valve annulus, detection of patent foramen ovale, and echocardiography in children. Brief research communications and a letter to the editor cover cardiac remodeling in middle-aged endurance athletes and recreationally active individuals, variability in echo ascending aortic diameters due to image acquisition by different sonographers, 2D speckle-tracking echo of the left ventricle rotational mechanics during postnatal adaptation in healthy newborns, and system-wide echo accreditation from the physician perspective.

The President’s Message by Madhav Swaminathan, MD, MMCi, FASE, explores ASE’s essential collaboration between its human and veterinary medical professionals. Marjan Miri, BS, RDCS, writes in the Sonographers’ Communication about ASE’s Rising Stars, and Kimberly Howard-Quijano, MD, MS, author of this month’s COPE communication, looks at the perioperative use of strain echocardiography.

ASE Headquarters – COVID-19 Update

Beginning March 26, 2020, the county where the ASE Headquarters is located is under a government order to “Stay at Home” due to the spread of the coronavirus. These “Stay at Home” recommendations continue to be in effect and depend on the infection rates in the County/State. ASE will keep all but essential personnel telecommuting until a time when it is judged safe to return to work. We are not suspending or closing operations; our employees will remain working and providing excellent customer service to our members and the cardiovascular ultrasound community. However, ASE will slightly modify its official open hours to 9 AM – 4 PM Eastern TimeMonday-Friday. Should you need to get in touch with a staff person, call our main office at 919-861-5574 and a phone list by department will be available. A staff directory is also available here. All general questions can also be sent through ASE@ASEcho.org. Thank you and our best wishes for your continued safety.

New 3D Imaging Code Survey Needs U.S. Physician Input

This is your opportunity to participate in the Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) process to ensure fair and adequate code valuation. The proposed CPT add-on code that describes the additional work required for 3D imaging, in addition to the base echocardiography service, is currently under review at the AMA RUC. Your participation in the RUC survey process is key in the assessment of the time, complexity, and physician work value for these procedures. If you were randomly selected, you received an email from “Qualtrics” with the subject line, “AMA RUC Survey – 3D Imaging of Cardiac Structures.” We ask you to look for it in all your email folders, as many members have found the survey in their spam/junk folder.

More information about the RUC and the survey process is available here.The AMA has created a video to explain the purpose of the survey process and provide specific instructions on how to complete the survey accurately. Please contact Irene Butler, ASE’s Vice President of Health Policy & Member Relations at IButler@ASEcho.org, with any questions. We greatly appreciate your time, input, and expertise.