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Utility of transesophageal echocardiography in infective endocarditis. A review.

Despite recent diagnostic and therapeutic advances, infective endocarditis continues to be a very serious illness, with high patient morbidity and mortality rates. The diagnosis of infective endocarditis has been based primarily on clinical signs and positive blood cultures. Echocardiography is currently recognized as the technique of choice for the detection of valvular vegetations, which are the hallmark of endocarditis. We briefly review the use of echocardiography in the diagnosis of suspected infective endocarditis, with emphasis on transesophageal echocardiography. High-resolution imaging of the cardiac valves with transesophageal echocardiography has proved to be invaluable in the management of infective endocarditis.

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