The Basics of Echocardiograms
An echocardiogram is an essential diagnostic tool used to monitor heart health and delves into the inner depths of the heart muscle. Both non-cardiac and cardiac specialists can benefit immediately from echocardiography images, which help improve patient care tenfold. The machine uses high-pitched sound waves sent through a transducer. The echoes from the sound waves then bounce off each respective section of the heart. These echoes then form images on-screen.
Types of Echocardiograms
One a doctor mentions an echocardiogram, they may be referring to one of three specific procedures:
- Transthoracic echocardiogram – This is the most common type of echo performed by cardiac specialists. Images of the heart are obtained by moving the transducer to various locations along the chest or abdominal wall.
- Stress echocardiogram – In this procedure, doctors perform an echocardiogram after exercise or an injection. A stress echo is carried out to discover whether decreased blood flow is a problem.
- Doppler echocardiogram – A procedure designed to examine how blood flows through the heart’s various chambers, valves, and vessels. The sound waves from the transducer reflect the movement the blood flow.
- Transesophageal echocardiogram – A probe is passed through the esophagus instead of being moved along the exterior of the chest wall. Because the probe is closer to the heart, the lungs and bones do not block the sound waves. An anesthetic is applied to the throat beforehand.
Why an Echocardiogram?
There are a few reasons why your doctor may settle on an echocardiogram procedure. The primary purpose is to check for abnormal heart sounds, an enlarged heart, unexplained chest pain, and to ensure the muscle is working correctly.
Believe it or not, a cardiac specialist can tell a lot by the sounds your heart makes.
To schedule a consultation visit, contact Brookhaven Heart by calling (631) 654-3278. We’re happy to assist you in any way possible!