Portable echocardiography

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7435.300 (Published 05 February 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:300
  1. Houman Ashrafian, specialist registrar in cardiology (ashrafian@hotmail.com),
  2. Richard G Bogle, specialist registrar in cardiology1,
  3. Stuart D Rosen, senior lecturer in cardiology1,
  4. Michael Henein, consultant cardiologist2,
  5. Timothy W Evans, professor of intensive care medicine3
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, Ealing Hospital, Southall, Middlesex UB1 3HW
  2. 2Department of Cardiology, National Heart and Lung Institute Division, Imperial College London, London SW3 6NP
  3. 3Unit of Critical, Care National Heart and Lung Institute Division

Is essential for the management of acutely ill patients

As the number of patients presenting with acute conditions to emergency and intensive care units continues to grow traditional ward based models of care may no longer be adequate. Reorganisation of critical care services is a government priority, encapsulating the paradigm that rapid assessment and treatment of modifiable life threatening conditions is required regardless of the location of the patient.1 Failures of all organ systems are potentially life threatening, but arguably the most catastrophic is failure of the cardiovascular system. Quick deployment of diagnostic aids to the bedside and identifying patients at risk therefore assume great importance.

Advances in microprocessor technology have permitted cardiac ultrasound to evolve from the crude 1953 oscilloscopes of Edler and Hertz through powerful but essentially immobile echocardiographs to portable battery powered devices that even incorporate the capacity for Doppler interrogation. This portability brings with it the opportunity for widespread use at the bedside with the potential to afford unprecedented benefit in immediate diagnosis. Such developments pose two major …

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