Guidelines for the use of ultrasound in the management of obstetric conditions - September 2007

Section 3: The referral, ultrasound examination and report

Page last updated: September 2007

There are clinical responsibilities associated with performing an obstetric ultrasound scan within the Medicare schedule which include:

  1. Reporting serious maternal or fetal conditions to the referring doctor in a timely manner to expedite management choice for the woman. Different protocols will exist with respect to the sonographers and/or sonologist informing the woman at the time of the scan but written protocols should be developed within each practice. New staff must be advised of practice protocols.
  2. The scope of an evaluation of an ultrasound performed during pregnancy is determined by clinical need. This clinical need is at the discretion of the treating clinician and the medical practitioner reporting on the scan. Every scan performed should have a report generated with clear indications for the examination stated and relevant ultrasound findings documented. This report should be sent to the referring clinician (referred ultrasound) or included in the patients clinical records (non-referred ultrasound).
As the referral and minimum examination and reporting standards may vary according to the stage of pregnancy, these guidelines are set out as they relate to the Medicare schedule:
  • Pregnancy <12 Weeks
  • Nuchal Translucency Assessment
  • 12 -16 Weeks Pregnancy
  • 18- 22 Week Detailed Morphology Scan
  • Pregnancy > 22 weeks
  • Growth and wellbeing
  • AFI/Doppler
Under each category the information required with each referral, the indications for the scan (Appendices 5,8,10), the ultrasound examination and the reporting standards will be discussed. In some circumstances criteria for diagnosis will also be stated.