Frequently asked questions about Echo cardiograms
What Else You Should Know About Echocardiograms
Your primary care physician or cardiologist may order an echocardiogram for a number of different reasons. Echocardiograms are painless, noninvasive and one of the most frequently used diagnostic tests for heart disease. In fact, they provide a wide variety of helpful information, such as the size and shape of the heart, its pumping strength, and the location or extent of any damage to its tissues. It’s especially useful for diagnosing any diseases of the heart valves. By assessing the motion of the heart wall, echocardiograms can detect the presence and evaluate the severity of coronary artery disease as well as determine whether any angina (chest pain) is related to heart disease.
You’ll feel more comfortable during your echocardiogram:
What is an echocardiogram?An echocardiogram is a 15- to 30-minute test that creates an image of the heart using high-frequency sound waves. The test is very similar to ultrasound scanning, often used when visualizing a fetus during pregnancy.
What happens during the test?During an echocardiogram, patients remove their clothing above the waist. A special gel is spread over the chest to ensure that the transducer (a device that converts electrical signals into ultrasound waves and ultrasound waves back into electrical impulses) slides smoothly and effectively over the skin. The transducer is then placed over the chest, where it directs ultrasound waves. Some of the waves are echoed or reflected back to the transducer. These sound waves are translated into an image of the heart, which can be displayed on a monitor or recorded on paper or tape. The procedure is painless and has no known side effects.
If you feel any chest pain, discomfort or any other symptoms while you’re receiving your test, please talk to your technician/ Nurse or physician immediately. Our skilled professionals are prepared to handle any symptoms you may have during testing.
Are there different echocardiograms?As with electrocardiograms (EKGs) and other tests, there are variations of echocardiograms. For example, an exercise echocardiogram is an echocardiogram performed during exercise, when the heart muscle must work harder to supply blood to the body. This test is similar to a cardiovascular stress test.
Doppler echocardiography is another test that employs a special microphone that enables technicians to measure and analyze the direction and speed of blood flow through the blood vessels and heart valves. This type of echocardiogram makes it easier to detect and assess regurgitation (backward blood flow) through the heart valves.
To learn more about these types of echocardiograms, talk to your primary care doctor or cardiologist.
What happens after the test?After your exam, you can return to your daily routine. A cardiologist at MGDM Hospital will interpret your test results and send them to your referring physician. To discuss your results, please talk to your primary care or referring physician or to the cardiologist itself.
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