Echocardiograms are tests that show the structures and functioning of your heart. It uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of your heart. An echocardiogram is a non-invasive procedure with few or no risks. It can help detect damaged heart valves, heart failure, thickened heart walls, and infections in your heart lining. Depending on which diagnosis your doctor needs, you can have one or several forms of echocardiogram. Tomball echocardiograms do not involve radiation, which makes them different from other tests like X-rays and CT scans. There are different types of echocardiogram based on the issue each detects, and they include:
Transthoracic echocardiography is the most common form of echocardiogram. The procedure involves your specialist placing a device known as a transducer on the chest over your heart. The transducer will send ultrasound waves through your chest to your heart. A video screen interprets the sound waves, and live images are shown on a monitor. The specialist may recommend you breathe at specific intervals to attain more information.
This technique involves your doctor guiding a much smaller transducer through your mouth to your throat. The doctor will numb your throat with an anesthetic gel or spray to eliminate reflex gag. The transducer tube passes through your esophagus. Transducer being behind your heart, your doctor gets a detailed view of any defects and sees heart chambers that are not visible on the other echocardiogram.
A stress echocardiogram uses a transthoracic test, but your doctor views images after exercising or taking specific medication that makes your heart beat faster. Your doctor will test how your heart functions under stress. Stress echocardiography can also show signs of heart failure and high blood pressure. The test takes between twenty and thirty minutes, but it can vary depending on how long you respond to medication and the time you take to exercise.
Three-dimensional echocardiography uses transesophageal or transthoracic echocardiogram to create 3-Dimages of your heart. Your doctor will create these images from different angles. A 3-D echocardiogram can help diagnose heart conditions in children or be used before heart valve surgery. It also shows how well your heart pumps blood. During the scan, your doctor can inject you with a contrast agent to get more explicit pictures.
Sometimes doctors use fetal echocardiography on expectant mothers between eighteen and twenty-two weeks of pregnancy. The technique involves your doctor placing a transducer over the pregnant woman’s abdomen to check for heart issues in the fetus. The process is similar to transthoracic echocardiography, but the wand is passed over your belly. A fetal echocardiogram does not use radiation and is safe for an unborn child.
Doppler echocardiograms detect how the pitch of the sound waves changes when they hit blood cells in your heart. Doppler signals help your specialist measure blood speed and flow direction in your heart. They can also check blood flow issues and blood pressure in heart arteries. Doppler echocardiogram is used in transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography.
The echocardiogram is a safe imaging test that can help detect various cardiovascular system conditions. Schedule an appointment at Cardiovascular Institute, P.A. for an echocardiogram to see your heart issues for effective treatment.