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Clinical Evaluation of Heart Disease
Echocardiographic Evaluation
1. Can echocardiography diagnose heart failure?
Echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart) is the most expedient means of detecting and quantifying a weakened heart muscle (systolic dysfunction) or abnormal filling (diastolic dysfunction). It is also ideal to detect a great number of other disorders that contribute to heart disease and heart failure.

Although echocardiography cannot definitively determine if heart failure is present (that is, the adequacy of cardiac performance), it can potentially provide strong evidence to support or refute the presence of heart failure.

2. What other abnormalities can be diagnosed by echocardiography?
Echocardiography can detect:

  • Changes in chamber dimensions and wall thicknesses which can suggest the etiology of congenital or acquired heart disorders
  • Chronic valvular disease
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Pericardial disease
  • Bacterial endocarditis
  • Cardiac tumours
  • Doppler echocardiography can be used to detect and quantify stenotic and insufficient valvular heart disease and pulmonary artery hypertension
  • Diastolic disorders of myocardial function
3. What is Doppler echocardiography? How is it useful?
Doppler echocardiography allows for the detection of abnormal blood flow patterns as well as the velocity of blood cells as they move throughout the heart.

Doppler echocardiography allows for the diagnosis and quantification of the severity of:

  • stenotic valvular disorders
  • valvular insufficiency disorders
  • septal defects
  • pulmonary artery hypertension
  • intracavitary stenotic disorders
  • diastolic disorders
  • wall motion abnormalities