Echocardiography has become routinely used in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart diseases.

Heart disease is a disease that presents itself to every member of my family; my maternal and paternal grandmothers, my birth mother, all three of my brothers, countless cousins, and all but one of my many aunts, not withstanding other issues, were taken from us by this disease. When I presented one tiny symptom my doctor was right on it! But, I have to think that I am blessed to be waging war against this disease.

Why am I blessed? Frankly, I am blessed because during the last half of the twentieth century and the first two decades of the twenty-first century great progress had been made as far as prevention and treatment of heart disease. This means, I stand a greater chance of living a long healthy life than most of my la famille predecessors.  My maternal and paternal grandmother’s who passed away during the eighth decade of the twentieth century (1980’s for you dummies) who were, at the time of their deaths respectfully 94.10 and 95.2 years of age didn’t exactly succumb from their heart disease early in life. But, no fooling around here, it was heart disease that took ’em!  

Today I had my second echo done. My first was one month shy of two years ago. This was a follow-up ordered by my primary physician to ‘chart the disease’ I am (apparently) to succumb to at some future date.  But, will I given what we now know about this disease?  I know I have an issue — labored breath after more than moderate exertion to being more tired than I have been in the past when vacuuming/sweeping the floors, that sort of thing —  and that issue means I take some medications to lower my BP and Cholesterol although both my BP/Cholesterol is not considered high by any means; but I am not given to being ”stupid” about such things so I happily agreed to take what my doctor prescribed.  have the usual age-related leaky valves (as in two) that need monitoring and the reason for the second Echo.  Still, I am blessed . . . not everyone is this lucky to have such good health care taking preventive measures to keep them healthy!


3D echocardiogram of a heart viewed from the apex

(from Wikipedia) 3D echocardiography (also known as 4D echocardiography when the picture is moving) is now possible, using a matrix array ultrasound probe and an appropriate processing system. This enables detailed anatomical assessment of cardiac pathology, particularly valvular defects,[3] and cardiomyopathies.[4] The ability to slice the virtual heart in infinite planes in an anatomically appropriate manner and to reconstruct three-dimensional images of anatomic structures make 3D echocardiography unique for the understanding of the congenitally malformed heart.[5] Real Time 3-Dimensional echocardiography can be used to guide the location of bioptomes during right ventricular endomyocardial biopsies, placement of catheter delivered valvular devices, and in many other intraoperative assessments.[6] The3D Echo Box developed by the European Association of Echocardiography offers a complete review of Three Dimensional Echocardiography.

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