• PURPOSE: To investigate the impact on patient management of posterior segment echographic evaluation at an academic institution. • DESIGN: Retrospective, noncomparative, consecutive case series. • METHODS: Records were reviewed of all patients evaluated for the first time with ocular echography for posterior segment evaluation at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute between September 2000 and August 2001. Patients with prior posterior segment echography, intraocular tumors, or suspected optic nerve or orbital disease were excluded. An "impactful" echographic evaluation was defined as an evaluation that confirmed the diagnosis and management plan. A "pivotal" evaluation was defined as an evaluation that either (1) made or subclassified the diagnosis or (2) established or changed the management plan or both. Main outcome measures include proportions of impactful and pivotal echographic evaluations and factors associated with pivotal evaluations. • RESULTS: The study included 154 eyes of 143 patients. The requesting physician was a retina fellowship-trained faculty member in 55 cases (36%), a nonretina faculty member in 22 (14%), a fellow in 9 (6%), and a resident in 68 (44%). Reasons for obtaining echography included evaluation for retinal tear or detachment in 83 eyes (54%), evaluation for posterior segment disease (for example, before cataract extraction) in 40 (26%), evaluation for endophthalmitis in 10 (7%), evaluation for intraocular foreign body in 8 (5%), characterization of choroidal detachment in 4 (2%), and other in 9 (6%). Echography confirmed the suspected diagnosis and pre-echography management plan in 128 eyes (83%). Echography made or subclassified the diagnosis in 20 eyes (13%) and established or changed the management plan in 12 eyes (8%). Accounting for definitional overlaps, echography was pivotal in 22 eyes (14%). Significant predictors of a pivotal evaluation or an evaluation that affected the management plan include a retina faculty member as the requesting physician (P = .003), lack of a management plan before echography (P < .001), and certain reasons for obtaining echography (for example, to rule out retinal tear or detachment and to rule out intraocular foreign body; P = .032). The final clinical or pathologic diagnosis confirmed the echographic diagnosis in 148 eyes (96%). • CONCLUSIONS: Posterior segment echography may be a very useful diagnostic tool. Its value may be optimized in certain subsets of patients. Considerations such as these may contribute to more cost-effective allocation of resources.
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