How is echocardiography used for the diagnosis of right ventricular dysfunction in suspected pulmonary embolism (PE)?

Updated: Jun 06, 2019
  • Author: Daniel R Ouellette, MD, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

Several echocardiographic findings have been proposed for noninvasive diagnosis of right ventricular dysfunction at the bedside, including right ventricular enlargement and/or hypokinesis of the free wall, leftward septal shift, and evidence of pulmonary hypertension. If right ventricular dysfunction is seen on cardiac ultrasonography, the diagnosis of acute submassive or massive pulmonary embolism is supported. While the presence of right ventricular dysfunction can be used to support the clinical suspicion of pulmonary embolism, prognostic information can be obtained by assessing the severity of right ventricular dysfunction.


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