Echocardiography has become the most common imaging and hemodynamic modality for the following reasons.
It allows high-quality imaging.
As a biologically safe modality, with no cumulative effects, it lends itself to serial studies as well as use in children and pregnant women.
It is painless.
No preparation is required (except for transesophageal echocardiography).
It is mobile and quick and allows on-line interpretation.
Doppler imaging provides anatomic as well as hemodynamic data.
It can be used as an early screening test.
What are the major anatomic data obtained with echocardiography?
Although the number of possible cross-sectional planes through which the heart can be viewed is almost infinite, standard sections are based on the transducer position”parasternal, apical, subcostal, and suprasternal”whereas the planes are long-axis, short-axis, four-chamber, and.
A, Parasternal long-axis view of left ventricles, left atrium, aortic valve, and mitral valve. B, Short-axis view of left ventricle. C, Four-chamber view. D, Two-chamber view of left ventricle, mitral valves, and left atrium. Two-chamber.
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Chamber size and function are well imaged, as are the mitral, aortic, tricuspid and pulmonic valves. The thickness of the walls is easily evaluated as well as the septum; wall motion is evaluated by segments in each view (inferior, posterior, anterior, and lateral walls). The aorta and sometimes even coronary arteries are visualized. The pericardium can be evaluated as well as the pulmonary artery and right ventricular outflow tract. The left atrial appendage is occasionally seen on transthoracic echocardiography.