The field of echocardiography has progressed rapidly since its introduction about 50 years ago. Device
miniaturization, once a dream of the visionaries in the field is now a reality and has provided new avenues for timely
diagnosis and management of cardiovascular disease at an individual level and at the societal and global levels as well. A
complement to physical diagnosis, a tool for rapid recognition of life threatening cardiac conditions, a means of
surveillance and follow up of specific parameters that determine course of management, and a tool for mass screening of
athletes, at-risk population, and those living in remote regions are some of the tested and potential applications of this new
technology. In addition, pocket-sized echocardiography devices can be used as a bedside teaching tool and as a means of
monitoring appropriateness of referrals for further cardiovascular testing in an era of heightened sensitivity to proper
resource utilization and cost consciousness. This manuscript summarizes the latest technological developments in the area
of echocardiographic device miniaturization, reviews emerging applications of hand-carried and hand-held units, and
presents related patents in this field.
Keywords: Echocardiography, hand-carried, hand-held, physical examination, pocket-sized, point-of-care.
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