Echocardiography

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Echocardiography

Echocardiography is also known as an echo test. This test produces moving pictures of the heart using sound waves. An echocardiogram is a test that makes use of ultrasound waves to examine the heart. It is a safe and painless procedure that helps doctors in the diagnosis ofvarious heart problems.

An Echocardiogram helps to assess various problems with the heart and its function. It gives information regarding the heart’s structure and blood flow in a non-invasive manner.

This test is recommended if a:

  • The patient experiences a heart murmur
  • The patient has had a heart attack
  • The patient has chest pains that cannot be explained
  • The patient has had rheumatic fever
  • The patient has a congenital heart defect or valve problem

During the test, a transducer (which is a small device similar to a microphone) is held against the chest. The transducer sends ultrasound waves that reflect (echo) off the various regions of the heart.

The information coming from the transducer is used by the computer to construct an image of the heart. The image is then displayed on a television screen, and it can be recorded digitally, on videotape, or printed on paper.

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What does it Show?
 


An Echocardiography helps shows the size, structure, and movement of various parts of your heart. These parts are the valves of the heart, the septum (the wall separating the right and left heart chambers), and the walls of the heart chambers. Doppler ultrasound helps show the movement of blood through your heart.

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What happens during the test?


No special preparation is needed for this test. Electrodes (small sticky patches) and wires will be attached to your chest and shoulders. To enhance the quality of the pictures, a colorless gel is applied to the area of the chest where the transducer will be placed. You may also be told to breathe slowly or hold your breath in order to obtain a better image.

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How long does it take?
 


An Echocardiography procedure generally takes about 30 minutes, but may be longer if extra pictures and calculations are required. Echo imaging is sometimes not easy in people who are very thin, obese, or have lung diseases such as COPD.

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What are the benefits?
 


A huge benefit of the Echocardiogram is that it gives information regarding the structures of the heart and blood flow in a non-invasive way. The information obtained from the echocardiogram helps your doctor make an error-free diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan that’s most suitable for you.

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