An echocardiogram is a test that is conducted by using a machine that utilizes sound waves to take a picture of your heart. It may also be referred to as a cardiac ultrasound. During the test, pictures are made of the heart’s valves, walls, chambers and the blood vessels that connect to the heart.
Echocardiograms can be performed in a variety of settings, such as an emergency room, hospital, clinic or doctor’s office. It is not invasive and does not hurt. In fact, you will not have to do anything to prepare for the test. All that is necessary is that you show up.
This test is performed by moving a wand across your chest and sides in order to have the sound waves bounce off at various angles. This information is used by a computer to develop an image that can be seen on the screen. Echocardiograms have no side effects and will not harm you in any way.
Our doctors may order an echocardiogram for several reasons. It may be to determine your heart’s strength in pumping the blood through the body. This may be important for the doctor to know if you have suffered a heart attack or have a history of other heart diseases. Knowing how effective the heart is pumping helps them to determine the next step in your treatment plan.
An echocardiogram can help our doctors see if the valves are working as they should. This includes seeing if blood is moving backwards through the valves. This is a condition known as regurgitation. The test can also let the doctor see if the valves are too narrow.
Through an echocardiogram, doctors can detect obstructions such as tumors that, if present, could interfere with heart function or cause other health threats. The test would also show an infectious growth, if present.
Another thing that this test can help to determine is any abnormal holes in the heart. The test can also be used to detect the presence of any blood clots. If any are detected, our doctors will have a chance to treat them before they can cause more serious problems.
In addition to the heart itself, echocardiograms are frequently used to examine the lining around the heart. This lining is called the pericardium. The blood vessels such as the aorta are also examined to look for any abnormal conditions.
The standard test that is used to detect for these issues is known as a transthoracic echocardiogram. It uses the same technology that is routinely used to help determine a baby’s overall health at birth. There are other types of echocardiograms that can be utilized in cases where a more detailed study is necessary.
As you can see, this test can be performed for a variety of reasons. During your initial appointment at Cardiology Consultants of Southwest Florida and The Vein Center, we can determine if this test would be beneficial in your case. Our office is located in Fort Myers. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more.