Imaging Test Guidelines for Dyspnea from the American College of Radiology

Dyspnea, meaning shortness of breath, is a common medical problem. There are many medical tests used to diagnose the cause. Among them are the electrocardiogram, lung function tests, oximetry, complete blood count, arterial blood gas, and many others.

The question for today is, however, what are some guidelines for ordering imaging tests for dyspnea.

Today I accessed the National Guideline Clearing House at. And in the search box on the home page I typed in dyspnea. A large number of useful citations came up but I was interested in what imaging tests (x-rays, scans, echocardiograms) are recommended to evaluate shortness of breath.

Although I used the NGC site to find today’s guidelines, you can access any ACR Appropriateness Criteria directly at ACR site.

The American College of Radiology has a set of outstanding guidelines on the use of imaging tests in diagnosis that can be accessed directly from the ACR Appropriateness Criteria home page.

The NGC guideline summary list that I used to find these resources is at http://www.guideline.gov/search/search.aspx?term=dyspnea. Seventy-four guidelines were in the list (accessed 7-30-2014)

ACR Appropriatness Criteria chronic dyspnea—suspected pulmonary origin
The NGC guideline summary is available at http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=15754&search=dyspnea

Clicking on the tab “related content” brings you to a link the original full text guideline at http://www.acr.org/SecondaryMainMenuCategories/quality_safety/app_criteria/pdf/ExpertPanelonThoracicImaging/DyspneaDoc3.aspx.

ACR Appropriateness Criteria chronic dyspnea—suspected suspected cardiac origin
The NGC guideline summary is available at http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=23813&search=dyspnea

Clicking on the tab “related content” brings you to a link to the original full text guideline at http://www.acr.org/SecondaryMainMenuCategories/quality_safety/app_criteria/pdf/ExpertPanelonCardiovascularImaging/ShortnessofBreathSuspectedCardiacOriginDoc15.aspx.

ACR Appropriateness Criteria—acute respiratory illness in immunocompetent patients
The NGC guideline summary is available at http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=32622&search=dyspnea.

Clicking on the tab “related content” brings you to http://www.acr.org/SecondaryMainMenuCategories/quality_safety/app_criteria/pdf/ExpertPanelonThoracicImaging/AcuteRespiratoryIllnessDoc1.aspx.

ACR Appropriateness Criteria acute respiratory illness in HIV-positive patient
The NGC guideline summary is available at http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=13679&search=dyspnea.

Clicking on the tab “related content” brings to a link to the original full text guideline at
http://www.acr.org/SecondaryMainMenuCategories/quality_safety/app_criteria/pdf/ExpertPanelonThoracicImaging/AcuteRespiratoryIllnessinHIVPositivePatientsDoc2.aspx.

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