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The Intraoperative Assessment of Right Ventricular Function During Cardiac Surgery

      The importance of right ventricular (RV) dysfunction in patients undergoing cardiac surgery is well recognized. There is extensive literature regarding the accurate assessment of RV dysfunction with both echocardiography and hemodynamic data, but the majority of these studies are with transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and in awake patients. Many of the tools used to assess the RV with TTE are angle-dependent and, therefore, may be inaccurate with transesophageal echocardiography (TEE). Very few of these modalities have been validated either with TEE or in patients under general anesthesia. The purpose of this review is to discuss the intraoperative tools available to the cardiac anesthesiologist for the assessment of RV function. The authors review the available literature surrounding intraoperative RV assessment, from subjective assessment to traditional objective tools that were developed for TTE and newer technology that can be adapted to both TTE and TEE. Future work should focus on whether or not these intraoperative RV assessment tools predict outcome after cardiac surgery.

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