Echocardiography and Heart Failure: A Glimpse of the Right Heart

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Abstract

The catastrophic consequences for patients in the settings of certain clinical conditions such as acute right ventricular infarction or massive pulmonary embolism with right heart failure illustrate the essential role that the right ventricle plays in sustaining life. With the development of more sophisticated diagnostic imaging technologies at the end of the last century and the dawn of this century, the importance of the right ventricle has been clearly demonstrated. The continued and evolving nature of our understanding of the right ventricle was emphasized in 2006, when the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute formed a working group focused on developing a better understanding of the right ventricle in both healthy and disease states. The objective of this review paper is to examine the right ventricle structure and function and describe the role of echocardiography in the evaluation of the right ventricle and right heart failure. Special focus will be on echocardiographic images and major society guidelines.

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