“Echocardiogram” is a long, scary-sounding word that intimidates some heart patients. But it shouldn’t. An “echo” (as they’re referred to in doctors’ circles) simply means a sonogram for your heart – a test that uses sound waves to produce images of your heart so that your cardiologist can detect exactly how well your heart is beating and how efficiently blood is pumping. This can be quite useful in a lot of different ways.
The echocardiogram is the first step in decoding the exact nature of any potential heart issues. An echocardiogram is something that has been traditionally used to detect congenital heart defects in unborn babies. This is crucial in determining a course of action to ensure the best health outcome for the mother and child. An echo could also prescribed in your doctor suspects a problem with the chambers or the valves of your heart or in its ability to pump.
Different types of echocardiograms (not to be confused with an EKG, which is an electrocardiogram, a test that transmits the electrical activity of your heart) measure different specific findings of your heart. Depending on what your doctor is looking for, you will experience one of these four types of echo: a transthoracic echocardiogram, which is a standard, non-invasive echo; a transesophageal echocardiogram, which uses a tube that is placed down your throat and into your esophagus to transmit extremely detailed images of your heart; a Doppler echocardiogram, which uses Doppler signals (sound waves bouncing off of blood cells) to measure the speed and direction of your blood flow; or a stress echocardiogram, which uses ultrasound technology to take images of your heart while you undergo exercise.
Most of the time, these echocardiograms are completed in less than an hour and have little to no adverse effects. In the case of a transesophageal echo, your throat will be sprayed with a numbing agent and you might be given a sedative to help your throat relax. Some patients report a mild sore throat after the procedure.
Each of these tests gives your cardiologist the information they need to detect any potential issues with your heart. From there, they can help you decide a course of action that will keep your heart healthy or to help make it work at its optimal efficiency.
Contact Complete Care Cardiology to discuss any concerns you might have and to work hand-in-hard with the professionals there to craft a plan to ensure your optimal heart health together.Leave a reply →