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Echocardiography

The echocardiography (ultrasonic examination of the heart) serves to judge the human heart regarding its functioning and structure. The examination itself can be repeated at any time as it is entirely riskless and does not involve any radiation exposure. Depending on the location of the ultrasonic head we distinguish between the so-called transthoracic and transoesophageal echocardiography. The most important echocardiographic techniques applied in the Cardiology department are briefly presented in the following.

Transthoracic echocardiography

  • denotes placing the transducer on the chest of the patient
  • facilitates a precise measurement of the size of the heart's chambers
  • allows a precise assessment of the large vessels
  • facilitates a reliable assessment of the heart's pumping action

By reproducing the structure of the cardiac valves it allows to more precisely diagnose any malfunctions of the valves (leakage, narrowing) by means of Doppler examinations.

Colour-coded Doppler echocardiography

  • denotes the colour coding of the blood streams in the heart
  • facilitates to recognise altered blood streams in case of valvular defects or shunt connections between the cavities of the heart

Tissue Doppler Imaging (TDI)

  • denotes the colour coding of the motion of the cardiac muscle
  • allows a more precise analysis of a disturbance of the cardiac wall movements
  • is also used when the volume requirements in the heart cavities are dubious.

Transoesophageal echocardiography (TEE)

  • denotes the insertion of the ultrasonic probe into the gullet (comparable with a gastroscopy)
  • facilitates the judgement of smallest details of the heart structure owing to the particular location near the heart
  • reproduces in remarkable detail even the smallest modifications of the cardiac valves
  • plays a leading role in the diagnostics of valvular defects, cardiac inflammations, defects of the atrial or ventricular septum and diseases of the large blood vessels
  • is used for monitoring during and immediately after surgeries of the heart

Three-dimensional echocardiography

  • is the latest innovation in the field of ultrasonic examination technology
  • facilitates a 3-D representation of the heart with all its structures
  • is presently used for the assessment of valvular defects and changes in the size or functioning of the heart

Stress echocardiography

  • denotes a stress examination under ultrasonic supervision
  • is a supplementation of the exercise electrocardiogram and the myocardial scintigraphy
  • allows the early localisation of a reduced functioning of the heart muscle in regions of insufficient blood supply

The stress can be induced either by exercise on a bicycle ergometer or by the infusion or injection of certain medication. The latter facilitates an examination of patients, whose physical mobility is restricted.