Echocardiography (echo) is a powerful technique that permits direct visualization and assessment of all the cardiac structures and assessment of the patients haemodynamic status at the bedside. Echo allows detection of valvular disease, evaluation of ventricular function and the pericardium, detection of intracardiac/intrapulmonary shunts, and can be used to calculate flows and relative pressures between the cardiac chambers. This rapid point-of-care haemodynamic evaluation provides information to guide therapeutic interventions, including volume resuscitation, instigation of vasoactive therapy and/or referral for specialist cardiac/surgical intervention. Although there is abundant evidence in the cardiology literature regarding the use of echo, data in the critical care arena is less well defined, but emerging. The use of echo by intensive care doctors is likely to become routine, and therefore training for intensivists in this technique needs to be developed and supported. The Portuguese Working Group on Echocardiography has developed a skill-based program, FADE (Focused Assessment Diagnostic Echocardiography) in order to train clinicians in the use of bedside ultrasound as a diagnostic and monitoring tool for the critically ill.
Keywords: Echocardiography, FADE, visualisation, haemodynamic status, intrapulmonary, WINFOCUS, General Intensive care, LUNG ULTRASOUND, Formative Program, FATE
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