Table 3

Principal indications for echocardiography

Breathlessness of potential cardiac origin.
TTE is the first-line imaging test for the investigation and monitoring of a wide range of chronic diseases (including but not limited to heart valve disease, congenital heart disease, inherited and acquired heart muscle disease and monitoring of ventricular function during chemotherapy treatment).
Point of care haemodynamic assessment in the critically ill patient.
Stress echocardiography (either pharmacological or exercise) to detect ischaemia and to evaluate structural heart abnormalities such as valve disease and heart muscle disease.
TOE is used to obtain high-resolution cardiac images. It is particularly valuable for assessing the mechanism and severity of mitral regurgitation, for diagnosing infective endocarditis and its complications such as abscess formation, for diagnosing and planning interventions for congenital heart disease, for guiding percutaneous structural cardiac interventions and for monitoring ventricular function during major surgery.
  • A comprehensive list of indications for echocardiography can be found online.71

  • TOE, transoesophageal echocardiography; TTE, transthoracic echocardiography.