As part of the Division of Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology in the UNM Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, a team of qualified cardiothoracic and critical care anesthesiologists provides 24-hour transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) services throughout the perioperative setting. We offer services for all OR areas including the cardiac, vascular, trauma, and general OR’s, as well as all surgical ICU’s including the Trauma/Burn/Surgical-ICU, the Neuro-ICU, and the Cardiothoracic-ICU.
With four state-of-the-art Philips iE33 & CX50 echocardiography systems (located in the main-OR, pediatric-OR, and the CT-ICU), 2D, 3D, and portable TEE and TTE imaging is readily available for all elective and emergent situations in our critically-ill patients. For clinical use, there are two echocardiography reading stations located in the CT-OR and the CT-ICU. Another workstation, located in our echocardiography office, is dedicated for educational and research purposes.
Aside from the clinical integration of echocardiography, the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine has dedicated itself to the training of residents and fellows in perioperative TEE. A formal monthly TEE lecture series is part of the core curriculum aimed to prepare the residents for the Basic Perioperative Transesophageal Echocardiography (PTE) certification offered by the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE). For advanced TEE education, the monthly “Echorounds” lecture series goes further into details of the clinical use of echocardiography by reviewing selected echocardiography studies. Informal educational sessions are offered in the ICU’s to teach residents and fellows the use of bedside TEE and TTE imaging.
With the addition of our new CAE echocardiography simulator, residents and fellows have the ability to practice their TEE and TTE skills prior to integrating the technique into their daily training in the OR. The simulator has capabilities to show normal as well as pathological studies. Basic didactics are part of the regular anesthesia Sim-lab sessions, whereas advanced scenarios are integrated into a separate cardiothoracic echocardiography lecture series during the CT-ICU rotation.
Once familiar with TEE-probe handling and basic image acquisition, residents advance their skills during their months in the CT-OR, CT-ICU, and general ICU. They are able to perform and read the number of echocardiography exams to fulfill the requirements for full PTE certification.
As perioperative echocardiography has become a major diagnostic and monitoring tool for the daily use by anesthesiologists, residents graduating from UNM are prepared to be a competitive and competent anesthesiologist in the private and academic setting.