Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Curr Opin Crit Care. 2014 Jun;20(3):309-14. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000094.

Ultrasonic evaluation of the heart.

Author information

  • 1Department of Intensive Care, Erasme University Hospital, Universit√© Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.



To discuss the role of echocardiography for the hemodynamic evaluation of critically ill patients.


In addition to its crucial role in evaluating heart abnormalities as in the classical cardiological approach, echocardiography is now frequently used by intensivists for noninvasive hemodynamic evaluation of the critically ill patient. Using echocardiography, it is possible to measure cardiac output, intravascular pressures and volumes, systolic and diastolic function of both ventricles, and preload responsiveness. This not only allows characterization of the precise nature of hemodynamic alterations in patients with circulatory and respiratory failure, but also provides guidance for hemodynamic optimization and optimization of ventilatory settings. There are now many data showing how echocardiography can be useful in detecting otherwise unrecognized myocardial depression in sepsis and right ventricular dysfunction in mechanically ventilated patients. The main limitation of echocardiography for hemodynamic monitoring is its intermittent nature. Hence, echocardiography is often combined with other monitoring devices, allowing continuous measurement of flow and triggering new echocardiographic evaluations.


Echocardiography has now become an important tool for hemodynamic evaluation of the critically ill patient. Echocardiography should be performed in most patients with circulatory and respiratory failure.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk