Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, with 18 million people lost to the condition each year. Early detection is possible using scans, tests, and measures, including echocardiograms. However, there are limitations on diagnosis accuracy when specialists are not available to consult on cardiac-related interpretations. As a result, healthcare professionals can misdiagnosis heart disease leading to poor outcomes.
Echocardiogram interpretations should provide valuable insight into a patient’s heart health. However, despite being a common test administered in health care, without the expertise to interpret results, physicians cannot facilitate proper patient treatment.
Early diagnosis is critical for patients, ensuring they receive treatment to increase the likelihood of recovery and survival. However, it is not uncommon for patients living in underserved areas to experience delays in care or miss out on the benefit of a cardiac specialist’s input.
Telecardiology solutions facilitate remote consultation with a board-certified cardiac specialist following echocardiograms, venous insufficiency diagnosis, echo interpretation, and coronary CT angiogram. As a result, all physicians can access highly qualified echocardiogram interpretations and overcome healthcare inequality.
Cardiologists share critical feedback and education to help physicians understand echocardiogram interpretations via telecardiology. This invaluable resource ensures that board-certified specialists review difficult-to-read tests to ensure patients receive a proper diagnosis. When understanding echocardiogram interpretations falls on the shoulders of the experts, physicians can carry out recommended medical interventions to remediate heart disease.
Common Echocardiogram Interpretations
The details of echocardiogram results can be difficult to read if they are not broken down properly. Some examples include:
- Enlarged hearts usually have specifications indicating whether the left/right ventricle or left/right atrium are impacted.
- Comparing abnormal deviations to standard levels is improved when using millimeters for more exact measurements.
- Ejection fraction is also notable in echocardiograms, with anything below 40% indicating an abnormality that can lead to heart failure.
- Heart rate intervals can detect heart disease in the early stages but also indicate a heart attack has occurred.
- Congenital heart defects such as a hole in one of the regions of the heart muscle or impaired connections to arteries from the heart muscle can be detected.
- Imaging also shows cases of clogged arteries and tumors.
Cardiac Specialist Interpretations
Cardiologists can provide further insights into complex issues. For example, monitoring of valvular disease can determine the optimum timing of intervention. Other examples of echocardiogram interpretations include:
Accumulation of fluid in the pericardial space can be defined using echocardiography to measure and localize any pericardial collection. Fluid pressures affect the hemodynamics, and echocardiograms can show signs of tamponade development, including:
- Right atrial and ventricular wall diastolic collapse
- Marked respiratory swings in the left heart blood flow
- Reduced filling of the right ventricle
Telecardiology services can help guide therapeutic pericardiocentesis.
Echocardiograms can determine left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) in hypertensive patients. They allow specialists to determine when hypertensive patients with “borderline” readings prompt treatment when the presence of LVH indicates end-organ damage.
Specialists might be more familiar with connective tissue disorders associated with cardiac abnormalities such as:
- Liebmann Sacks vegetations
- Leaflet fibrosis
They can detect abnormalities using echocardiography.
Acute Myocardial Infarction
Although not routinely required in this situation, specialists might use echocardiograms to investigate cases of unexplained hypotension and murmurs. Via remote consultation, they can provide rapid assessment for bedside testing of ventricular and valvular function and also identify possible complications, including:
- Ventricular septal defect
- Acute severe mitral regurgitation
- Free wall rupture
Echocardiography can help manage atrial fibrillation once the ventricular response to atrial fibrillation is controlled. This is important as the brief diastolic relaxation time during high heart rates makes left ventricular function assessment difficult. Also, specialists understand assessing left ventricular function via echo is crucial for patients with non-syncopal sustained ventricular tachycardial.
If the patient shows impaired left ventricular function secondary to ischaemic heart disease, they have a higher mortality rate. Telecardiology services will confirm the patient requires an implantable defibrillator. On the other hand, if the patient has near-normal or normal left ventricular function, they can see good outcomes when managed medically.
Occult Infection and Suspected Infective Endocarditis
Diagnosis of infective endocarditis requires echocardiography in Duke’s criteria, especially for suspected prosthetic valve endocarditis. Using a transthoracic echocardiogram is less effective as the prosthetic valve tends to produce acoustic shadows, which can obscure critical structures. In this situation, Transesophageal Echocardiography is mandatory for clearer views of the prosthetic valve and supporting structures. It is also best for spotting complications such as aortic root abscesses.
Leveraging Specialist-Driven Interpretations
Although echocardiography assists general physicians when investigating cardiac conditions and medical emergencies, the proper interpretation is vital to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. Although this imaging modality is readily available, cardiac specialists are not. Therefore, recent technological developments such as telecardiology have become essential to leveraging the diagnostic powers of high-quality imaging.
Telecardiology allows physicians and medical facilities to use affordable, portable equipment to provide bedside, emergency, and scheduled echocardiograms as a principal cardiac imaging modality. They can then improve diagnostic accuracy with input from remote cardiac specialist interpretations.
Quality patient care is an important aspect of health care, yet underserved areas often lack the rapid interpretations and diagnosis required to reduce the risk of high mortality. Telecardiology combines the efficiency and effectiveness of echocardiology with qualified, certified, and educated cardiologists. As a result, the difficulty posed with accurate echocardiogram interpretations is overcome. Telecardiology provides real-time diagnosis to help manage potentially devastating heart diseases.
Telecardiology at Specialist Direct
Telecardiology is an integral part of the services provided by Specialist Direct. Our specialists accurately read and interpret echocardiogram studies for better results. Contact us for a consultation or information on our services today.