Cath Lab Basics

Basic Echocardiography: A Primer of the Common Echo Images for the Cath Lab


Morton Kern, MD

Many patients who come to the cath lab have an echocardiographic study as part of their routine work-up. The ‘echo’ often contributes significantly to clinical decision-making before and during the cath procedure.



Samuel Stoughton, RT, RDCS, FASE
WellStar Health System, Austell, Georgia

Pericardial effusion is the collection of fluid in the pericardial space around the heart. When the pressure in the pericardial space exceeds the pressure in the cardiac chambers, then cardiac function is impaired and the resultant hemodynamic crisis is known as cardiac tamponade. Echocardiography is critical in the evaluation of pericardial effusion and instrumental in determining the presence of cardiac tamponade. Echo-guided or echo-assisted pericardiocentesis is the treatment in most cases.1

The pericardium consists of two layers: the visceral pericardium, which follows the epicardial


Sudden Cardiac Arrests and Automated Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (AICDs)


Reynaldo “Rey” Grullon, BSN, RN, Clinical Coordinator
Alliance Heart Institute, Leesburg Regional Medical Center
and The Villages Regional Hospital, part of Central Florida
Health Alliance, Florida


Implications for practice and what we need to know

As cath lab professionals, our practice is constantly becoming more complex and diverse. We are also engulfed in technology in the pursuit of improving quality of life for our patients. Why? The answer is sudden cardiac arrests (SCA), also referred as sudden cardiac death. About 325,000 SCA occur annually in the United States, of which 163,221 SCA take place out-of-hospitals.1 There are numerous contributors to SCA:2,8,10

• An unusually rapid heart rate of unknown cause that comes and goes, eve