Everything You Need to Know About Echocardiogram

Echocardiography is a medical test where your healthcare provider uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) from an echocardiogram placed on your chest to take images of your heart’s chambers and valves. Unlike other medical examinations like CT scans and X-rays that use small amounts of radiation, echocardiography uses no radiation. In this post, we will tell you why you should have your echocardiography done by a cardiologist Bakersfield, CA.

Why is an echocardiogram performed? 

The main reason healthcare providers recommend an echocardiogram is to examine the health of your heart. Furthermore, your doctor may recommend an echocardiogram to diagnose:

·       Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). This is the buildup of plaque on the walls of the coronary arteries that supply blood to your heart.

·       Heart valve disease. This includes leaky valves, narrowed valves, and infection of the heart valves.

·       Congenital heart defects. This is heart defects during birth.

·       Cardiomyopathy. This is the enlargement or thickening of a heart muscle.

·       Heart attack. This is the collapse of a part of your heart muscle due to blood clots and coronary artery disease.

·       Cardiac arrhythmias. This is when your heartbeat is too slow, too fast, or abnormal.

·       Pulmonary hypertension. This is caused by increased blood pressure in the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs.

·       Heart murmurs. These are abnormal or unusual heart sounds.

·       Pericarditis. This is caused by the inflammation of the sac that surrounds your heart.

What are The Different Types of Echocardiograms?

As mentioned earlier, an echocardiogram is an ultrasound test that examines the function and structure of the heart. That said, an echocardiogram can be used to check for numerous heart complications, such as valve disease. There are several echocardiogram tests, each offering unique benefits in diagnosing heart disease. They include:

·       Standard transthoracic echocardiogram. Here, your doctor will take moving pictures of your heart while resting. This procedure involves the use of a painless, wand-like instrument (transducer) that is placed on your chest. This is the most common type of echocardiogram.

·       Transesophageal echocardiogram. This procedure involves passing a special transducer down your throat to take pictures of the heart.

·       Stress echocardiogram. This procedure involves performing an echocardiogram during a cardiac stress test. A cardiac stress test examines how exercising on a treadmill affects your heart.

During the procedure

An echocardiogram is usually done in a hospital or the doctor’s office. During the exam, you will be required to undress from the waist up and lie on the examination bed or table. The sonographer will then attach sticky patches (electrodes) to your body to help diagnose and conduct your heart’s electrical currents. To further improve the conduction of the sound waves, the technician will also apply a gel to the transducer. Your radiologist technician will gently move the transducer back and forth over your chest to take images generated by sound waves and echoes from the chest area. Most echocardiograms take less than one hour, and you can resume your daily routines.

At Heart Vascular and Leg Center, situated in California, we have provided the residents in and around Bakersfield with reliable treatment solutions for several health complications. Our team of well-experienced vascular specialists and cardiologists will provide you with personalized treatments using state-of-the-art technology. Get started today and book an appointment or call us today.