The practice of ultrasound is now ubiquitous in the perioperative environment. Echocardiography has “escaped” the confines of the cardiac O.R., and its teaching and practice are no longer limited to the cardiac anesthesiologist. There is wide access to stand-alone, echocardiographic platforms with full imaging capabilities as well as units small enough to fit inside the physician’s lab coat pocket. Consequently, the anesthesiologist/intensivist has the potential to evaluate cardiac function in any patient, at any time and place, from the preoperative assessment area to the operating theater and postoperative care units. With this comes the requirement for the acquisition of fundamental echocardiography concepts, which is increasingly incorporated into anesthesiology residency curriculae.

Most anesthesiologists/echocardiographers are familiar with the “bullet” shape (mid-esophageal views) or the “doughnut” view (transgastric short axis view) of the left ventricle, which allow qualitative assessment of global...

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