Diagnostic ultrasound has been used extensively for almost 20 yr, and as best as can be determined from all of available information, is perfectly harmless to the patient.8,9,69 No untoward reaction has been reported, and its safety is such that physicians are substituting ultrasound for Xray to avoid radiation hazards, especially in obstetrics. Because of the safety and convenience to the patient, the potential usefulness of this type of examination is great. The information obtained with echocardiography is similar in many respects to the information obtained with angiocardiography. Echocardiography still has many deficiencies, but the advantages of being able to obtain examinations at will, even continuously if necessary; of eliminating any hazard to the patient; and of markedly reducing expense make echocardiography most attractive. The information obtained with echocardiography may be more physiologic than that obtained with angiography because no foreign substance is introduced and the patient is not sedated nor in an excitable state due to the psychic trauma of cardiac catheterization. This review is a description of the current state of the art. Dramatic technical changes are occurring, and there are many engineering changes that will undoubtedly be made. One has the entire field of Doppler ultrasound which is totally different and acts on a different principle. This versatile use of ultrasound could be married to pulsed, reflected ultrasound and add another dimension to the overall clinical usefulness of echocardiography. This technique, known as pulsed Doppler, is already being investigated. All indications are that the use of ultrasound to examine the cardiovascular system, and especially the heart, should expand markedly in the near future and play an increasingly valuable role in clinical cardiology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine