Current Anesthesiology Reports

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 360–367 | Cite as

Echocardiography in the Intensive Care Unit

  • Stefaan BouchezEmail author
  • Patrick F. Wouters
Critical Care Anesthesia (BS Rasmussen, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Critical Care Anesthesia


Purpose of Review

This review illustrates the incremental value of echocardiography as a bedsite tool for diagnosis and monitoring in critically ill patients with cardiopulmonary dysfunction. It provides practical guidance on the use of basic echocardiography in clinical scenarios frequently encountered in the ICU.

Recent Findings

Echocardiography has become readily accessible to critical care physicians now and equipment is even been designed specifically for use in acute and critical care environments. The most important barrier to a more widespread implementation of this technique today, however, is the lack of training and experience. Indeed, proficiency is an absolute requirement for echo-based decision-making to positively impact on patient outcome.


Echocardiography has become an indispensable tool in the management of critically ill patients with severe cardiorespiratory conditions. It has the potential to become a game changer in ICU but current studies do not yet indicate a beneficial effect on outcome. It appears that structured training and certification in basic echocardiography are an absolute necessity to catalyze the widespread adoption and to guarantee the optimal use of ultrasound in the care of critically ill patients.


Echocardiography Monitoring Hemodynamic Cardiac function Critical care Acute respiratory failure Acute circulatory failure Dyspnea Hypotension Diagnosis 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Stefaan Bouchez and Patrick F. Wouters declare they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology 2K12CGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Basic and Applied Medical SciencesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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