The Trans-Thoracic Echocardiographic Examination

The Trans-Thoracic Echocardiographic Examination
©Walter Rasmussen, R.D.C.S.

Two-Dimensional Sector Image with Color Doppler overlay.

A Trans-Thoracic Echocardiograpic Examination consists of a collection of still and moving ultrasound images of internal cardiovascular anatomy and blood flow made by placing and manipulating an ultrasound transducer on the anterior chest wall and abdomen.

An echocardiographic study is digitally recorded in accordance with long-established protocols for image orientation and anatomical views with the goal of producing reliable diagnostic information about a wide range of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease.

There are five major modes of ultrasound processing for the The Trans-Thoracic Echocardiogram.

  1. The Two-Dimensional Echocardiograpy exam, reveals thin anatomical slices of cardiac, and proximal arterial and venous anatomy.   The sonographer angles and rotates the probe in order to visualize standardized views of the heart.
  2. At specific points in the exam, Color Doppler is  overlayed upon the moving cardiac structure, integrating cardiac mechanical function with blood flow.
  3. Spectral Doppler consists of using Color Doppler guidance for the best placement of sampling cursors in order to obtain exact blood flow velocities and pressure readings across valves, obstructions and shunts.
    spectral doppler
  4. Three-dimensional Echo imaging can be added to the examination with the use of a specialized transducer in order to provide added spatial orientation and perspective that is not otherwise possible with the two-dimensional exam.3D MV
  5. M-Mode Echocardiograhy is produced by positioning a cursor through the area of interest, thus isolating one scan line of a two-dimensional ultrasound image.  A simulated strip chart recording is then produced by computer software.M MODE MV

Once all of  the images are acquired and recorded, they can be analyzed with standard measurements and motion tracking software.  A qualified reader then makes a report of the findings.

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