Echocardiography has revolutionized the management of pediatric and adult heart disease, especially in the diagnosis of congenital heart defects. Although the early methods of echocardiography (M-mode and Doppler imaging) were limited in their ability to define the defect in question, the advent of 2D, and now 3D, imaging have clearly equaled or surpassed traditional methods of diagnosis (e.g., noninvasively obtained plain chest radiographs and electrocardiograms) and invasive tests (e.g., cardiac catheterization and angiography). Confidence in the images obtained using echocardiography has continued to increase, with many patients referred for corrective or palliative surgery on the basis of echocardiographic imaging alone. Echocardiography has eliminated the need, decreased the frequency, or improved the timing or performance of invasive studies in other patients. Specifically, it is used to definitively diagnose a cardiac defect and any associated lesions. It will also provide quantitative information for the assessment of the hemodynamic severity of the lesion. This review outlines the manner in which echocardiography is used to plan and guide congenital heart surgery or intervention, along with some of the advantages and disadvantages (pitfalls) of which to be aware. The use of echocardiography within the cardiac catheterization or surgical theater, as well as in the intensive care unit, is discussed, as is the use of echocardiography as a means of monitoring recovery and follow-up following cardiac surgery. Finally, the authors discuss who is best qualified or suited to perform these tests.
- Congenital heart disease
- Congenital heart surgery
- Interventional cardiology
- Intraoperative echocardiography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine