Skip to content

Bedside Echocardiography

Jamie Pfaff

Finding an Ultrasound

  • MICU: radiology room behind charge nurse's desk in middle hallway
  • VA ICU: In front of resident workspace
  • 8N: Behind nursing station before entering cleaning supply room
  • 8S: In supply closet to left as you walk toward nursing station - (door code is 1-3-5)
  • 6MCE: COVID restricted (ask nurses)
  • CCU/5N only: supply room on left as entering CCU
  • Round wing: 5th floor, ask nurses

TTE Standard Views


Parasternal long

  • Probe position: Rotate probe 180 degrees with right edge of probe/probe marker pointing toward pt’s left shoulder
  • Make sure probe is centered over mitral valve (In right spot if you can see MV and AV)
  • E Point Septal Separation (EPSS)
    • Distance separating the anterior MV leaflet from the septal wall as measure of LV systolic function (easy evaluation of systolic function)
    • Place M mode spike at tip of mitral leaflet and hit M mode (perpendicular to septum)
    • Identify E point (passive filling of LV) and determine distance from interventricular septum (IVS)
      • <7mm = Normal
      • >10mm = HF
    • Confounders that elevate EPSS: AR, MS

Parasternal short

  • Probe position: Rotate probe 180 degrees with right edge of probe/probe marker pointing toward patient’s left shoulder
  • Good position to assess EF by visualizing wall thickening

Apical four chamber

  • Probe position: Slide down and look near patient’s left nipple (or in the intermammary fold after lifting up breast tissue if needed - at PMI if able to palpate)
  • Good to assess EF by visualizing cardiac shortening


  • Probe position: Push probe head into pt’s abdomen just below xiphoid and flatten probe to make nearly parallel to pt’s position, marker to pt’s left
  • Troubleshooting: shift probe slightly left of midline (toward pt’s right) and angle toward heart/right to use liver as acoustic window or ask pt to take big breath (moves heart closer to probe)
  • Best window to visualize pericardial effusion



  • Probe position: subxiphoid area with probe marker facing toward pt’s head tilted slightly left of midline, trace IVC into RA to verify correct vessel (vs aorta)
  • IVC size and collapsibility used as a surrogate for CVP and RAP
    • <2.1 cm and >50% collapse: RAP ~3mmHg
    • <2.1 cm and < 50% collapse or >2.1cm and >50% collapse: RAP ~8mmHg
    • >2.1cm, <50% collapse: RAP ~ >15mmHg