Echocardiography is a commonly used diagnostic tool in assessing cardiac disease. The advent of hand-held ultrasound devices means useful information on cardiac cavity size, ventricular wall thickness and function, or apparent valvular pathology can now be obtained by general practitioners after adequate training. This will be particularly useful in the care of patients with suspected heart failure, left ventricular hypertrophy, a cardiac murmur or atrial fibrillation. It will reduce the number of patients needing referrals and the waiting times for hospital echocardiography services. It is limited by the technical specifications of the equipment and operators expertise.
For UK healthcare professionals only