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Cardiol Res Pract. 2012;2012:894308. doi: 10.1155/2012/894308. Epub 2012 Feb 20.

Appreciating the strengths and weaknesses of transthoracic echocardiography in hemodynamic assessments.

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1
Department of Critical Care Medicine, Nepean Hospital, Sydney Medical School, Penrith, NSW 2750, Australia.

Abstract

Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is becoming the choice of hemodynamic assessment tool in many intensive care units. With an ever increasing number of training programs available worldwide, learning the skills to perform TTE is no longer a limiting factor. Instead, the future emphasis will be shifted to teach the users how to recognize measurement errors and artefacts (internal validity), to realize the limitations of TTE in various applications, and finally how to apply the information to the patient in question (external validity). This paper aims to achieve these objectives in a common area of TTE application-hemodynamic assessments. We explore the strengths and weaknesses of TTE in such assessments in this paper. Various methods of hemodynamic assessments, such as cardiac output measurements, estimation of preload, and assessment of fluid responsiveness, will be discussed.

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