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The Future of Cardiac Ultrasound: A Close Insight

Feb 3, 2020
 

In the past decade, cardiac ultrasound technology has improved significantly, especially regarding diagnosis and patient care. Improvements in cardiac ultrasound and cardiology in Suffolk County, NY, and around the world, continue to happen, to the point that imaging has become a vital component to clinical practice and research. There are also some exciting developments that could have a profound effect on cardiac ultrasounds in the future. Here are three future insights.

Echo Imaging Advances 

One of the biggest innovations in cardiac ultrasound is 3-D echo imaging. Advanced visualization software allows cardiology specialists to manipulate images by slicing them on any plane and creating 3-D images than can be rotated. The next step in the advancement of cardiac ultrasound imaging is implementing 4-D echo imaging. 4-D technology has opened numerous possibilities in cardiac ultrasound imaging. For one, specialists can continually update 3-D images and use them to create live video viewing. Plus, 4-D platforms can reconstruct large volumes of data into 3-D images repeatedly in a matter of milliseconds. 

There are numerous advantages to 4-D cardiac ultrasound imaging. You can get color flow in real time, which would help in assessing hemodynamic information in a single heart cycle. The technology offers extremely accurate data on the left ventricle of the heart without the need for geometric and shape assumptions required for 2-D images. One of the most significant attributes of 4-D technology for cardiac ultrasounds is the ability to provide multi-dimensional imaging. With multi-dimensional imaging, you can get bi-plane and tri-plane images of a heartbeat at the same time, and you won't need to move a probe back and forth throughout the procedure. 

4-D multi-dimensional imaging also gives you multiple axis views of the heart in real time. The images are incredibly lifelike, too, providing more detailed information and making them much easier to interpret. In the near future, 4-D imaging technology will help cardiologists to procure information about the heart in fewer steps and help specialists analyze congenital heart disease as well as provide a comprehensive assessment of the beating heart throughout a complete cardiac cycle. 

Fusion Imaging 

Another promising development in cardiac ultrasound technology is fusion imaging. Fusion imaging involves combining echo images with cardiac ultrasounds and other cardiac imaging modes. This will provide a more complete picture of the heart in a single view. The next level in fusion imaging is a combination of CT Angiography, or CTA and 3-D echo strains. Future images of the heart's anatomy and coronaries will be elaborately detailed, which will greatly improve the efficacy of cardiac imaging and other cardiology services. You will also receive an echo strain map of the left ventricle that can aid in aligning areas of movement within the heart's wall that are deformed by blocked coronary arteries. This will help better determine the cause of lesions on the wall of the heart. 

Interventional Imaging 

Another way cardiac imaging technology will improve cardiac ultrasounds in the future is through interventional imaging. Current techniques used at cardiology centers involve tools and devices geared toward septal defects, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, mitral valve clips, etc. for mitral repair, occluders for paraprosthetic valvular regurgitation and left atrial appendage repair. Interventional imaging via cardiac ultrasounds will provide imaging guidance for the above tools and devices, allowing for accurate results that will aid diagnosis and cardiology treatment plans. This new technology will additionally aid interventional cardiology and catheter-based treatments for repairing structural heart disease. Fusion imaging opens the possibility of less invasive procedures and improved patient care. 

Peconic Bay Medical Center, a cardiology center in Suffolk County, NY, can provide more information about the future of cardiac ultrasound technology. Email us at pbmc-info@northwell.edu or call us at 631-548-6000.