International Contrast Ultrasound Society calls for sonographers to help administer contrast agents

The International Contrast Ultrasound Society (ICUS) is urging medical centers to discontinue practice policies that limit qualified sonographers to assist in administering ultrasound contrast agents (UCA).

“There is absolutely no reason a qualified and credentialed sonographer should be prevented from assisting in a contrast enhanced ultrasound procedure, which is an extremely safe, inexpensive, reliable and radiation-free option for imaging the heart, liver, kidneys and other organs and tumors throughout the body,” said Steven Feinstein, a professor of medicine at Rush University in Chicago and co-president of ICUS in a prepared statement.

The ICUS board, which met Sept. 5 in Chicago, recommends amending practices and procedures that would permit qualified sonographers to gain peripheral venous access and inject UCAs into a patient when medically indicated. In its statement, the board noted restrictive policies may impact patient care and outcomes.

“Sonographers play an extremely important role in delivering effective and cost-efficient patient care, and yet too many medical centers still have outdated policies that require a registered nurse or physician to administer UCAs—even when trained and credentialed sonographers are available,” said Beverly Gorman, an ICUS board member. “This can effectively deny patients access to enhanced ultrasound imaging where medically indicated, and many of those patients end up with unnecessary and more expensive ‘big box’ imaging.”