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Is echocardiography a reliable tool?

In the clinical setting of heart failure, combined use of M-mode and 2D echocardiography is a useful tool for the differentiation of cardiomegalies of an unknown cause. In combination with careful clinical examination echocardiography allows differentiation between pericardial effusion, congenital or acquired valvular heart disease, or cardiomyopathy as the underlying cause of heart failure. M-mode echocardiographic parameters relating to left ventricular dimensional change can be helpful in the quantitative evaluation of left ventricular function, especially when no abnormal segmental wall motion is present. However, due to the poor reproducibility of the echo parameters, this method is only of limited usefulness for follow-up studies or for the evaluation of the effect of drug interventions. In the evaluation of left ventricular performance during dynamic exercise, currently used echocardiographic techniques have not proved practical due to technical limitations.[1]


  1. Is echocardiography a reliable tool? Hanrath, P., Schlüter, M. Eur. Heart J. (1983) [Pubmed]
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