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Echocardiography and thoracic ultrasound 

Echocardiography and thoracic ultrasound
Chapter:
Echocardiography and thoracic ultrasound
Author(s):

Frank A Flachskampf

, Pavlos Myrianthefs

, Ruxandra Beyer

, and Pavlos M. Myrianthefs

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199687039.003.0020_update_001

February 22, 2018: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

Update:

Updates to references

Updated on 27 July 2017. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 17 October 2019

For the emergency management of cardiovascular disorders, echocardiography and thoracic ultrasound are indispensable imaging techniques at the bedside. In the intensive care environment, crucial questions, such as left and right ventricular function, valvular heart disease, volume status, aortic disease, cardiac infection, pleural effusion, pulmonary oedema, pneumothorax, and many others, can be sufficiently and reliably answered by using these techniques; in fact, it is almost impossible to manage patients with acute severe haemodynamic impairment reasonably well without a prompt and repeated access to echocardiography. This is confirmed by the prominent place that echocardiography has in the guideline-based diagnosis and treatment of all major cardiovascular emergencies, from acute heart failure to the acute coronary syndrome to pulmonary embolism, etc. Moreover, it is the ideal tool to follow the patient, since repeat examinations pose no risk to the patient and demand relatively little logistics and resources. To benefit from the wealth of information that echocardiography and thoracic ultrasound can provide, modern equipment (including a transoesophageal probe) and systematic training of echocardiographers must be ensured. The availability of prompt and experienced echocardiography and thoracic ultrasound services at all times is fundamental for sound contemporary cardiovascular intensive care.

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