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Echocardiography for the clinician: a practical update

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Echocardiography is the mainstay of cardiovascular diagnostics, and is the most performed test for the evaluation of cardiac function. Critical and costly management decisions are based on quantification of left ventricular volumes and ejection fraction. Recent advances in echocardiography, such as microsphere contrast echocardiography for left ventricular opacification and perfusion imaging, three-dimensional transthoracic and trans-oesophageal imaging, strain and tissue Doppler imaging, all contribute to improving accuracy and reproducibility of these important measurements. Such techniques are now routinely available on standard echocardiography equipment in Australian centres for daily use. Hand-carried ultrasound devices have been developed, which are portable, are affordable and offer increased availability of echocardiography to the wider community. Clinicians should be actively encouraged to adopt these technologies to improve the diagnostic quality and reproducability of echocardiography for our patients. This article provides an overview of important recent advances in echocardiographic imaging with an emphasis on their role in clinical practice today.

Keywords: 3-D; contrast; echocardiography; strain

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2010

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