What is the role of echocardiography in the diagnosis of respiratory failure?

Updated: Apr 07, 2020
  • Author: Ata Murat Kaynar, MD; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Echocardiography need not be performed routinely in all patients with respiratory failure. However, it is a useful test when a cardiac cause of acute respiratory failure is suspected.

The findings of left ventricular dilatation, regional or global wall motion abnormalities, or severe mitral regurgitation support the diagnosis of cardiogenic pulmonary edema. A normal heart size and normal systolic and diastolic function in a patient with pulmonary edema would suggest ARDS.

Echocardiography provides an estimate of right ventricular function and pulmonary artery pressure in patients with chronic hypercapnic respiratory failure.

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