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James D. Newton

, Adrian P. Banning

, and Andrew R.J. Mitchell

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date: 02 March 2021

Ease of use, rapid data provision, portability, and safety mean that echocardiography has become the principal investigation for almost all cardiac conditions. A modern transthoracic echocardiography examination combines real-time two-dimensional (2D) imaging of the myocardium and valves with information about velocity and direction of blood flow obtained by Doppler and colour-flow mapping. A complete examination can be performed in most patients in less than 30 min. There are three main echocardiographic techniques: two-dimensional (cross-sectional), M-mode, and Doppler. Despite the rapid and substantial advances in ultrasound technology and the widespread use of echocardiography, it is important to recognize and understand the limitations of the technique. These include reliance on acoustic windows, evaluation at rest, subjective assessments, evaluation of complex structures such as the right ventricle remains a major challenge, and the fact that the scope of an ‘echo’ is broad.

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