What Can Be Prevented with an Echocardiogram?
The final goal in any echocardiographic explorations into the anatomy and physiology of the heart is prevention of sudden cardiac death. Often this is only after a first cardiac incident which serves as the sentinel event to prompt a thorough cardiac evaluation via echocardiographic modalities.
Preoperative Risk Assessment
In patients undergoing surgery, either with or without heart disease, cardiac assessment is a foundation of preoperative anesthesiology preparation. For those without cardiac disease, initial screening for a risk stratification can be made via a 12-Lead ECG–based on age, BMI (obesity), lipid status, drug use, family history, and undiagnosed, suspicious events, such as syncope.
A normal preoperative ECG often can be misleading, but it is helpful in that it provides a baseline against which to compare peri-operative or postoperative ECGs that become abnormal.
In patients with heart disease, resting echocardiography, stress echocardiography, and 24-hour ambulatory monitoring are used to prevent progression of previously documented heart disease and prevent sudden cardiac events or death.