Ultrasound imaging in teaching cardiac physiology.

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This laboratory session provides hands-on experience for students to visualize the beating human heart with ultrasound imaging. Simple views are obtained from which students can directly measure important cardiac dimensions in systole and diastole. This allows students to derive, from first principles, important measures of cardiac function, such as stroke volume, ejection fraction, and cardiac output. By repeating the measurements from a subject after a brief exercise period, an increase in stroke volume and ejection fraction are easily demonstrable, potentially with or without an increase in left ventricular end-diastolic volume (which indicates preload). Thus, factors that affect cardiac performance can readily be discussed. This activity may be performed as a practical demonstration and visualized using an overhead projector or networked computers, concentrating on using the ultrasound images to teach basic physiological principles. This has proved to be highly popular with students, who reported a significant improvement in their understanding of Frank-Starling's law of the heart with ultrasound imaging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-358
Number of pages5
JournalAdvances in Physiology Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2016


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