Main views

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Imaging windows

This picture shows you the location of the main echocardiographic windows:

1- Parasternal window

2- Apical window

3- Subcostal (also called subxyphoid) window

Schema location probe on chest.jpg

Normal echo parasternal long.JPG

long axis

This view is very useful to estimate the size and contractility of the right and left ventricle (septum and posterior wall), to assess the morphology and function of the mitral and aortic valves. With color Doppler you can look for an aortic or mitral regurgitation and try to determine their mechanism.

short axis

There are 3 levels of imaging the heart in short axis:

Base of the heart, level of the aortic valve

Level of the mitral valve

Mid-ventricle: papillary muscles and toward the apex


4 chamber

In this view you will be able to visualize the 4 main chambers of the heart: left ventricle and atrium, right ventricle and atrium. The Apical 4 chamber view is the best view to calculate the Simpson ejection fraction, to visualize the apex of the left ventricle, and to study the mitral inflow (diastolic function and mitral stenosis)

Apical 5 chamber.jpg

5 chamber 

The apical 5 chamber view differs from the apical 4 chamber view by the presence of the aortic valve in the center of the image. This is the view where you will get the best alignement of your Doppler beam with the aortic outflow tract, to look and grade an aortic stenosis and to calculate the cardiac output.


2 and 3 chamber

The apical 2 chamber view will show you the anterior and inferior walls of the left ventricle.

Subcostal views

Subcostal 4 chamber.jpg
4 chamber

In some ventilated patients, the subcostal view will be the only window accessible. You will be able to assess LV and RV function and valves regurgitations

Subcostal short axis aortic valve.jpg
Short axis

From a subcostal approach, it is possible to obtain a short axis of the left ventricle, to estimate LV function, and a short axis of the aortic valve with visualization of the tricuspid and pulmonic valves.

Subcostal IVC.jpg

Inferior Vena Cava

Determination of the IVC diameter and respiratory variations are pivotal for the estimation of a patient's volume status.



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