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Perspectives

Clinical indications for echocardiography

Susan P Wright

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Abstract

Echocardiography is the most widely used cardiac investigation, providing comprehensive information about the heart and great vessels, including valves, chamber size and function. It is an essential component of the diagnosis and management of patients with all types of cardiac disease.

Key Points

  • Echocardiography is rapid, portable, safe and widely available.
  • Guidelines exist regarding echocardiographic views, echocardiographic analysis and the use of echocardiography in patients with different cardiac conditions.
  • Echocardiography is mostly a class 1 indication in patients with suspected or known cardiac diseases, including atrial fibrillation, heart failure and valvular heart disease.
  • Echocardiography is useful in the intensive care unit, emergency department, catheterisation laboratory and cardiothoracic operating room.
  • New developments in echocardiography include three-dimensional technologies and analysis of myocardial deformation.

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