H.10 Echocardiography for patients in contact/ respiratory isolation
As a cardiologist, I was frequently asked to see patients in contact/respiratory isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reasons for these consultations were variable, including troponin elevation (myocardial infarction), heart failure, and arrythmia. For most of these consultations, an echocardiogram was indicated to assess cardiac contractility and valve function. However, performing an echocardiogram on these patients was logistically challenging and potentially dangerous – it required that the person performing the study put on extensive personal protective equipment (gown, gloves, hat, mask, face shield, etc.), which takes time, and then decontaminate the echo machine after the study was performed. Typically, the person performing the echocardiogram must get very close to the patient, so, even with PPE, that person was at risk of contracting the highly contagious SARS CoV-2 virus. I believe there is a need for an echo machine that can be used to get high quality images from isolated patients in a timely fashion, without requiring the operator to get exposed to a highly contagious virus and spend more than a brief period decontaminating the machine before the next study. I am proposing the development of an echo machine that can be operated at a safe distance from the isolated patient, preferably from outside the patient’s room. This machine would be useful for any patient that is isolated due to infectious disease.