Echocardiography

Overview

All Courses & Exercises

Objectives

Echocardiography

After completing the learning exercises in echocardiography, you will be able to:

  • Describe the use of echocardiography in the evaluation of patients with a number of conditions, including valvular heart disease, pericardial disease, and coronary artery disease.
  • Optimize the decision to order echocardiography in a cost-effective manner for a number of conditions.
  • Describe guidelines for the use of echocardiography.
  • These internet enduring materials are case-based, interactive presentations comprised mainly of text, interactive questions, and images. A variety of media, including video clips, audio clips, and Flash animation, may be presented. Links to any necessary plugins are provided when necessary, but no plugins are required for general use of the CME website, and you may skip the multimedia presentation(s) within the course if you choose.
  • Registrants participate in the learning process by answering interactive multiple choice questions that are dispersed throughout the case presentation. You must answer a question correctly in order to continue through the course. If you answer a question incorrectly, you will be prompted to try again.
  • In order to earn credit, physicians must complete the entire educational activity before the termination date (see above). Non-physicians may register for the course but are not eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Instead, non-physicians will earn a certificate of participation after successfully completing the course before its termination date.

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Key Concepts

  • Echocardiography is useful for the diagnosis of many different conditions affecting the heart and great vessels. In order to use this diagnostic tool effectively, you must know the basic types of information it provides, technical limitations that may affect the accuracy of this test, and information about the patient's disease process.
  • Echocardiography is particularly useful for assessing patients with valvular heart disease. Information that can be obtained from two-dimensional (2D) and Doppler echocardiography includes the extent of valvular abnormalities, the severity of valvular regurgitation or stenosis, and the consequences of these abnormalities as they are manifested over time.
  • The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have published guidelines for the use of echocardiography in selected disease states. While the risk of echocardiography is quite low, even for transesophageal echocardiography, the cost of echocardiography requires that physicians follow existing guidelines and avoid using echocardiography where the test result will not lead to a significant improvement in patient evaluation and management.
  • Understanding the pathophysiology underlying patient's disease processes is very important to the effective use of echocardiography.