About the Lab

The Echocardiography (Echo) Core Lab at Mayo Clinic offers third-party interpretation of echocardiographic studies for clinical trials around the world, partnering as a research collaborator with trial investigators and industry sponsors.

In particular, the Echo Core Lab provides echocardiography measurements for clinical investigations and trials that use echocardiography for patient eligibility or study endpoints, or both.

Specific services provided by the Echo Core Lab include:

  • Meticulous measurements by experienced research sonographers
  • Hands-on interpretation and over-read by Mayo Clinic cardiologists
  • Quality assurance for clinical sites and core lab staff
  • Fast turnaround time
  • Capacity to read up to several thousand studies
  • Preparation of how-to manuals and webinars

The main mission of the Echo Core Lab is to promote optimal utilization of echocardiography in clinical investigations and practice.

Rapid, reliable, reproducible results

Utilizing Mayo Clinic's wealth of experience and standing as the nation's foremost institution for cardiovascular diseases and echocardiography, Mayo Clinic cardiologists provide rapid, reliable and reproducible readings with unparalleled quality assurance.

  • Rapid. A staff of dozens of physicians and sonographers allows the Echo Core Lab to provide a timely turnaround for even the largest trials. The Echo Core Lab can accommodate clinical trials ranging in size from hundreds of studies to several thousand studies with speed and precision.
  • Reliable. Mayo Clinic is the premier center for echocardiography in the world, performing upward of 250 examinations a day. Since its inception in 1999, the Echo Core Lab has published more than 1,000 papers on the subject of echocardiography. Many Echo Core Lab faculty and staff have participated in writing echocardiography guidelines. The Echo Core Lab holds regular quality assurance meetings to standardize echocardiography measurements and interpretation.
  • Reproducible. Clinical trials that use echocardiography require the highest caliber of objective interpretation for optimal results — results that can be reproduced and confirmed by investigators and the scientific community. Mayo Clinic's stringent quality-control procedures provide a database of precise readings on which to base research conclusions.

Echo Core Lab expertise

To provide reproducible and standardized echo measurements and analyses, only physicians and sonographers with extensive clinical echocardiography training and practice are invited to participate in the Echo Core Lab at Mayo Clinic. These experts undergo formal training and education related to standardized echo measurement techniques and the mission of the Echo Core Lab.

The Echo Core Lab has participated in a wide range of clinical trials on such topics as:

  • Heart failure, including the Heart Failure Clinical Research Network trials with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
  • Ischemic cardiomyopathy, including the Surgical Treatment of Ischemic Cardiomyopathy with Heart Failure trial (STICH) with the NIH and NHLBI
  • Pulmonary hypertension, including the Pulmonary Vascular Complication of Liver Diseases trial with the NIH and NHLBI
  • Rheumatoid arthritis with the NIH and National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement, including the Medtronic CoreValve U.S. Pivotal Trial
  • Marfan syndrome, with the Marfan Foundation
  • Mitral valve regurgitation
  • Mitral, aortic and pulmonary investigational replacement valves
  • Implantable cardiac device testing
  • Pharmaceutical testing
  • Cardiotoxicity of chemotherapy agents
  • Pericardial diseases

Facilities and Equipment

The Echo Core Lab has 400 square feet of dedicated space, with secure storage facilities and access to the resources of the 40,000-square-foot clinical Echocardiography Laboratory at Mayo Clinic.

Workstations and capabilities in the Echo Core Lab include:

  • Digisonics Digiview workstations
  • EchoPac (GE, strain imaging)
  • Epsilon EchoInsight workstations (strain imaging)
  • Tomtec workstation (3-D imaging)
  • Vector Velocity Imaging workstation (strain imaging)

Digital images received by the Echo Core Lab are archived and stored on a secure server.

History

The Echo Core Lab was established in 1999 by Jae K. Oh, M.D., and Barbara (Barb) G. Manahan, R.D.C.S., at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota.

In 2001, the Echo Core Lab was invited by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to provide independent, third-party, expert review for the prominent Vieques Heart Study, which was investigating the incidence of vibroacoustic disease on Puerto Rico — the effects of noise and vibrations caused by naval exercises on the pericardial thickness of island residents. The Echo Core Lab review concluded that there was no evidence of clinically significant pericardial thickening in the island residents.

Since publication of the Vieques Heart Study results, the Echo Core Lab has grown its partnerships with both federally sponsored and industry-sponsored investigators, including the National Institutes of Health and the Marfan Foundation.

The largest number of clinical centers the Echo Core Lab has worked with to date for one trial was for the STICH trial, with 126 participating centers from 22 countries. The largest number of echoes reviewed for a single trial was 15,000 studies from transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) for the Medtronic CoreValve trials.

Leadership

Echo Core Lab director: Jae K. Oh, M.D.

Dr. Oh is a consultant in the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and serves as director of both the Pericardial Disease Clinic and the Integrated Cardiac Imaging Center. He is the Samsung Professor in Cardiovascular Diseases at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and has authored more than 400 publications on echocardiography and cardiology.

Echo Core Lab manager: Barbara (Barb) G. Manahan, R.D.C.S.

Manahan is the lead cardiac sonographer and manager of the Echo Core Lab. She has more than 30 years of experience as a cardiac sonographer.

Organizational chart: Get the Echo Core Lab's full organizational chart (PDF).