Dear Readers!

The March issue of the “Journal of Ultrasonography” focuses entirely on the heart. Among numerous publications, you will find a variety of engaging reports from centers with extensive experience in both adult and pediatric diagnostic echocardiography.

The Team of the Department of Cardiac and General Pediatric Surgery of the Medical University of Warsaw prepared original papers focusing on the role of an echocardiographist in preoperative diagnosis of congenital vascular defects, with a particular emphasis on the aorta and its branches. Based on many years of experience, the authors attempt to decide which developmental aortic anomalies may be qualified for surgical correction based on ultrasonographic findings alone, and which require extended diagnosis. The topic was comprehensively explored in an extensive review paper included in this issue, which presents a detailed methodology of echocardiography in different morphological variations of aortic arch vessels in children. It is also worth paying attention to the rich illustrative material of the paper, which is of high educational value and helps to understand the technique of the examination.

Another interesting original paper presents an analysis of the diagnostic usefulness of TAPSE and MAPSE parameters in early postoperative period in children undergoing repairs with the use of extracorporeal circulation. The authors join the discussion on the search of an optimal method for the assessment of myocardial mechanical efficiency in patients after surgeries.

In the setting of cardiac surgery of congenital heart defects, ultrasonography is also a useful tool for perioperative monitoring of physiotherapeutic efficacy. Another original paper presents both a novel algorithm for the examination, as well as detailed clinical data.

Furthermore, among the three presented case reports you will find an exceptional and convincingly documented description of a retroaortic and paravertebral course of the left innominate vein, for the first time reported in medical literature.

The remaining articles in this issue are review papers representing an update of standards for echocardiography published in the handbook of the Polish Ultrasound Society entitled “Praktyczna ultrasonografia” in 2011. They discuss the methodology, indications and goals of resting transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography, as well as stress echocardiography in the diagnosis of coronary and non-coronary diseases in a didactic manner - a manner that is useful in clinical practice. The invited foreign expert, the author of the European standards for echocardiography, described a special stress echocardiography test assessing the left ventricular diastolic function.

We wish you a pleasant reading!
Edyta Płońska-Gościniak
Maciej A. Karolczak
Guest Editors