Echocardiography and the Evolution of Heart Treatment

2012-03-26
 

evolution of echocardiography “In the 1950s eight out of 10 babies [in Britain] with a complex congenital heart condition died before their first birthday. Today eight out of 10 of those babies grow up to be adults, thanks to advances in diagnosis, treatment and care.”

That’s the first paragraph of a story from The Guardian, one of Britain’s top newspapers. It goes on to chronicle how echocardiography – among many other things – enabled such an extraordinary turnaround.

A big leap was made in the 1980’s, when echocardiography replaced stethoscopes for detecting heart problems. Of course, echocardiography also enabled physicians to see where the problems were, the scope of the problems, and to know ahead of time what type of surgery (or surgeries) would improve a heart’s functioning.

Around 10 years ago, developments in echocardiography enabled cardiologists to see, diagnose, and plan treatment for infants still in utero. In some cases, procedures can even be carried out on the fetuses themselves.

The portability of echocardiography, along with ever-increasing image resolution, also enable physicians to monitor both hospitalized and released patients. For those patients that need multiple procedures (like balloon valvoplasty), echocardiography is literally the difference between a hospital-bound life and a relatively normal life and, in some cases, between life and death.

What’s next for echocardiography? No doubt, it will continue to improve its images and guidance of catheter-based surgeries.

But the key to maximizing echocardiography is something many echocardiography facilities don’t have: a cardiovascular information system (CVIS). With a CVIS, multiple echocardiograph images can be easily accessed and even seen simultaneously, greatly improving a cardiologist’s ability to observe and track changes over time.  Moreover, a CVIS makes the advances of echocardiography easily transferable to other cardiologists, improving their ability to provide excellent patient care.

Is it time for your facility to install or upgrade a CVIS? Call us for a free consultation.

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