Rev Cardiovasc Med. 2021 Sep 24;22(3):741-754. doi: 10.31083/j.rcm2203081.
Acute Heart Failure (AHF) is an increasingly common condition with a poor prognosis. In contrast to CHF where advances in medical therapy and devices has led to significant improvement in morbidity and mortality, the prognosis for AHF has not changed significantly in the last few decades despite efforts to find effective treatment. There are multiple factors that contribute to the high mortality and morbidity of AHF; it can be a diagnostic challenge, determining whether decongestion has been achieved can be difficult, and persisting congestion is commonly present at discharge contributing to early decompensation and rehospitalisation. Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) is a unique imaging modality that is non-invasive, can be done at the bedside, in real time during procedures, is affordable and easy to access both in community and inpatient settings. Small hand held 'point of care' scans are increasingly available and being used as an adjunct to improve clinical examination. Consequently, the use of echocardiography to improve outcomes for patients with cardiac disease continues to evolve. In chronic heart failure TTE has established roles in the quantification of HF phenotype, and determination of treatment initiation, escalation and success. However, the role of echocardiogram in AHF is not as well established with society guidelines relying on expert consensus for their recommendations. Use of TTE at all stages of AHF has potential to reduce morbidity and mortality. This review discusses the evidence for use of TTE to improve the diagnosis, prognosis and management of AHF.