The working group on echocardiography of the Estonian Society of Cardiology was founded 10 years ago in February 1996 with the aim to co-ordinate activities in echocardiography in Estonia. Main developments in echocardiography and in the training echocardiographers and nurses-echotechnicians in the last 10 years are reviewed. During the last 10 years most echolaboratories and offices have changed their echocardiographic equipment for modern digital apparatuses.
One of the important problems in echocardiography in Estonia today is ageing of echocardiographers, about two-thirds of the physicians-echocardiographers have a long work record, nine years and more. Another trend is concentration of echocardiographers into two main centres: 50% of them are working in Tallinn, 25% in Tartu and only 25% in other towns.
Shortage of physicians-echocardiographers is a significant issue for many outpatient departments and smaller hospitals. To solve this problem, we have focused more on the training of young doctors in echocardiography. Also we have introduced a novel direction in Estonia – training of nursesechotechnicians and implementation of a relevant educational programme.