The last decade has produced a proliferation of techniques for the assessment of left ventricular systolic function, and there now seems to be more choice than seems rational for the questions that we need answers to. In some instances, simple estimation is all that is required—the risk stratification process is inexact, as emphasised by the variety of modalities used to characterise ejection fraction (EF) in studies that validated the efficacy of treatments selected on the basis of EF. Nonetheless, while technical advances often cause disruption and confusion, it would be wrong to dismiss them as lacking benefit. The purpose of this review is to try to provide rational grounds for selecting both test modality and physiological parameter in various specific clinical situations.
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