Why is intracardiac echocardiography helpful? Benefits, costs, and how to learn

Eur Heart J. 2014 Jan;35(2):69-76. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/eht411. Epub 2013 Oct 21.


Current interventional procedures in structural heart disease and cardiac arrhythmias require peri-interventional echocardiographic monitoring and guidance to become as safe, expedient, and well-tolerated for patients as possible. Intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) complements and has in part replaced transoesophageal echocardiography (TEE), including real-time three-dimensional (RT-3D) imaging. The latter is still widely accepted as a method to prepare for and to guide interventional treatments. In contrast to TEE, ICE represents a purely intraprocedural guiding and imaging tool unsuitable for diagnostic purposes. Patients tolerate ICE much better, and the method does not require general anaesthesia. Accurate imaging of the particular pathology, its anatomic features, and spatial relation to the surrounding structures is critical for catheter and wire positioning, device deployment, evaluation of the result, and for ruling out complications. This review describes the peri-interventional role of ICE, outlines current limitations, and points out future implications. Two-dimensional ICE has become a suitable guiding tool for a variety of percutaneous treatments in patients who are conscious or under monitored anaesthesia care, whereas RT-3DICE is still undergoing clinical testing. Continuous TEE monitoring under general anaesthesia remains a widely accepted alternative.

Keywords: Guiding tools; Intracardiac echocardiography; Peri-interventional imaging; Structural heart disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Appendage / surgery
  • Cardiac Catheterization / economics
  • Cardiac Catheterization / methods
  • Cardiology / education
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Echocardiography / economics
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Europe
  • Heart Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation / methods
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Care / methods
  • Mitral Valve Annuloplasty / methods
  • Septal Occluder Device
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional / economics
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional / methods
  • United States
  • Wound Closure Techniques