Key messages

• Echocardiography allows easy, prompt, and accurate identification of most of the critical cardiac injuries that occur in the intensive care unit.

• Transesophageal echocardiography is technically easy and generally safe to perform in intubated critically ill patients.

• Doppler echocardiography allows assessment of the complications of myocardial infarction, acute valve disease, endocarditis, massive pulmonary embolism, and aortic diseases.

• Examples of useful applications of Doppler echocardiography include diagnosis of right-to-left shunting in unexplained hypoxemia, assessment of chest trauma, and assessment of brain-dead patients as possible organ donors.

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