Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 39, Issue 12, December 2010

Echocardiography in heart failure A guide for general practice

David Prior Jennifer Coller
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Echocardiography is an essential investigation in patients with suspected heart failure. An echocardiogram provides assessment of cardiac chamber size and structure, ventricular function, valvular function and key haemodynamic parameters.
This article explains the principles of echocardiography and how general practitioners can use echocardiograms to manage patients with heart failure.
Echocardiography can provide diagnostic information about the cause of heart failure, and may indicate what further investigations are required and what therapy is indicated. It may also provide important prognostic information. It can be used for noninvasive quantitative monitoring. Identification of impaired systolic function is important as there is evidence based therapy which can improve prognosis in this condition.

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