Echocardiology in Radiologic Science
State Technical of Missouri
The cardiac cavity is a very delicate part of the human body which is vital in the circulation of blood. Blood circulation aids in the elimination of toxins as well as distribution of nutrients throughout the body. Cardiac heart disorders are sensitive diseases which should be handled with care. Fortunately, new technologies adopted by echocardiologist are safe non-invasive ways of obtaining images which are used to provide visual information of the heart.
There have been great improvements in echocardiography technology; there has been a switch from analogue methods of scanning to the digital method. Digitalization in this field has resulted to improved image resolution thus ease in recognising cardiac disorders. Moreover, the instruments used are quite smaller now compared to the previous ones making them easy to use as well as carrying around. Furthermore, it is possible to store images now for future analysis as well as a comparison to give a precise diagnosisCITATION Hol00 l 2057 (Holmes Gibson, 2010).
The non-invasive diagnosis provides cardiologists with the ability to evaluate the cardiac chambers of the heart such as well as the arteries and the veins which help with the diagnosis of heart diseasesCITATION Fat96 l 2057 (Fatkin D, 2016). New technology in this field has enabled practitioners to perform complicated tasks such as harmonic border detection which shows the size of the body organs being examined. Ultrasound waves that can cross the pulmonary veins are used to detect abnormalities such as the in the cavity- endocardial border as well as the rate of ejections in the heart. However, the quality of the images largely depends on the sonographer and the body size of a patient
Echocardiological technology has evolved from the simple M- mode tracing which involved diagnostic ultrasound. This technology utilised diagnostic ultrasound presented in temporary echoes with which the depth of the echo is displayed along one axis with time. This mainly measured the rate of the heart beats by measurement of the echoes producedCITATION Mar99 l 2057 (Marsan Nancy, 2016).
Later developments lead to the improvement of the M-mode to 2-Dimensional echocardiogram which like the M-mode is a safe and painless way of obtaining images that uses a transducer to send sound waves to the heart which are at high frequencies. The patient is examined while lying on flat surfaces, preferably a hospital bed.
The cardiologists can view the images produced from 2D technology with the ability to examine the hearts valves, pumping strength, structural defects or even fluid build-up. This examination is possible through the sound wave testing where the echoes of the waves send to the heart create images which can be projected on a screen and therefore used for medical examinationCITATION Jam00 l 2057 (Walther, 2010). Doctors can choose to record parts of the examination for further examination of the cardiac cavity.
3- Dimensional imaging which is an improvement of 2D which include the Transthoracic and transducers, these have significantly improved the quality of images captured by the cardiologist. The images produced are in real-time imaging, producing clear images giving the medical practitioners the ability to detect heart abnormalities with easeCITATION Hol00 l 2057 (Holmes Gibson, 2010). The incorporation of colour flow allows for quality images for examination of valvular structures.
The 3-Dimensional colour flow allows for quantifying of the severity of mitral regurgitation this is done through measurement of the vena contracta. This provides the medical practitioners with of the severity of mitral regurgitation. This is not the only application which will be made possible by three-dimensional imaging as it will also help with another diagnosis as well.
Current technology in echocardiology has resulted in advancement in strain imaging the advancement captures the inefficiencies associated with 2D imaging CITATION Iqb14 l 2057 (Iqbal Mohamud, 2014). 3D space eliminates any possible out of plane speckle tracing errors which were present in the 2D model. A strain in the cardiac cavity happens when there is a fractional shortening of two points within the myocardial area. This includes areas such as the subendocardium, sub-epicardium, mid-wall or along any longitudinal plane in the cardiac cavity. The advanced technology and changes in the distance between points by systole and diastole thus creating a strain rate curve. This is made possible by the tracking of speckles produced by reflection of ultrasound in the cardiac cavity.
Presently speckle tracking machines have been made available on most ultrasound machines. The accuracy of the technology has been proven to be true from experiments involving animals as well as human beingsCITATION Mar99 l 2057 (Marsan Nancy, 2016). Integration of the stain curves through the 3D technology provides insights into the mechanics of contractions, the importance of torsions and other characteristics of the cardiac cavity useful in early detection of disease.
Integration of handheld ultrasound devices in echocardiology has revolutionised the quality of images being taken. The devices are light and easy to carry around by cardiologists. Currently, they operate on 2D pictures integrated with color flow Doppler of higher diagnostic power. The devices allow doctors to examine patients who would be very sick and bedridden.
There are numerous benefits from inventions of the 3D technology, however, like any other new technology out there some limitations come with it. First, the images needed should be of high quality with more attention being focused on preservation of data to avoid lossesCITATION Mar99 l 2057 (Marsan Nancy, 2016). The medical practitioners should be highly trained to handle the devices correctly as well as interpret information correctly. Another limitation is that measurements derived from different machines vary making it difficult to establish a standard of measurement.
The handheld devices are cost-effective in patients who would otherwise lack medical funding improving patient’s care as well as their wellbeing. The devices capture the well-being of both the in patients as well as the outpatients. The best idea behind handheld devices is that it increases the possibility of earlier detection of heart problemsCITATION Fat96 l 2057 (Fatkin D, 2016). The devices also allow for referral of patients with critical conditions thus early treatment.
However, with the device being easy to use and easily portable, it would fall into the hands of inexperienced physicians. If such incidents happen, it could lead to misdiagnosis of patients’ conditions which could be costly. Therefore, it is wise to train cardiologists who will be using the handheld devices as they will be in contact with vulnerable patients. The devices are regulated by the proper authorities and are not meant to be used as substitutes for the standard echocardiological devices. They should only be used in case of emergencies where patients are in a critical condition and would could possibly suffer before they get the required medical attentionCITATION Mar99 l 2057 (Marsan Nancy, 2016).
New studies towards the ease of the use and accuracy of the devices show that they produce diagnostic results like those of standard echocardiological devices. The only limitation is that they lack technical capabilities like those of conventional devices which are not preferred for diagnosis of cardiac problems. All these technologies work towards better treatment of cardiac problems as well as prevention of heart disease. Patients with cardiac problems are advised against the use of certain drugs such as chemotherapy which would immensely affect how the heart functions. This is made possible by strain imaging.
In general, cardiological devices should capture all the cardiac activities which include the parasternal long axis; this gives a clear picture of the mitral valve leaflet motion. Mitral motion allows for diagnosis of diastolic functions. Other activities which should be captured by the devices include the left and right ventricle activities. The ventricle structure such as wall thickness should be visible on the screen, thus useful in determining the compositions of the cardiac cavity for any deformityCITATION Jam00 l 2057 (Walther, 2010). Moreover, examination of the pericardium should show that the pericardium walls are white, clear with a thickness of about 2 mm. The pericardium fluids should be reasonable to avoid fluid retention which is dangerous in the cardiac cavity.
Taking care of ones’ cardiac cavities should be a major priority, especially with the advanced technology of the treatment of heart disease. Our hearts are mainly affected by our lifestyles, regular exercising gets rid of excessive cholesterol which is harmful to the heart as it blocks veins leading to heart failure. Another major important vital role is to avoid harmful drug use which have many negative factors in cardiac conditions.
It is evident that echocardiological technology has developed from simple technologies to much more complicated ones. With each new technology comes more benefits to the efforts of treating cardiac conditions which are always complicated. The future is positively impacted for patients that have heart disease as the growth of newer technology continues to find its way in the radiologic world of echocardiology.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Fatkin D, S. J. (2016). Accuracy Of Biplane Transesophageal. Boston: Uni. Press.
Holmes Gibson, S. M. (2010). Pulmonary Vein Stenosis. New York: Macmillan.
Iqbal Mohamud, T. L. (2014). Recent Developments In Atrial Fibrillation. Journal Of Atrial Fabrication, 455.
Marsan Nancy, T. H. (2016). Real-Time Cardiological Dimensions. Journal Of Echocardiology, 886.
Walther, J. (2010). Cardiology. Journal Of Cardiology, 65.