Echocardiography is an imaging technique that uses Ultrasound to examine the heart. It provides direct visualization of the cardiac chambers, walls and valves. Echocardiography is a safe, non-invasive procedure used to diagnose cardiovascular disease. Echocardiography allows doctors to visualize the anatomy, structure, and function of the heart and provides the doctor with information about the size and shape of the heart and also how well the heart’s chambers and valves are working. It can quickly diagnose the presence and severity of heart valve problems, as well as determine abnormal flow within the heart. This window to the heart enables the doctor to diagnose a number of cardiovascular diseases, so they can begin proper treatment.
So what is Echocardiography?
An echocardiogram (also called an echo) is a type of ultrasound test that uses sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart that can be seen on the ultrasound monitor.
Different types of echocardiograms include the following:
- Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE). This is the most common type. Views of the heart are obtained by moving the transducer to different locations on your chest or abdominal wall.
- Stress echocardiogram. During this test, an echocardiogram is done both before and after the heart is stressed either by having the patient exercise or by injecting a medicine that makes the heart beat harder and faster. A stress echocardiogram is usually done to find out if a patient might have decreased blood flow to their heart.
- Doppler echocardiogram. This test is used to look at how blood flows through the heart chambers, heart valves, and blood vessels. The movement of the blood reflects sound waves to a transducer. The echocardiographer measures the direction and speed of the blood flowing through your heart and blood vessels. Doppler measurements may be displayed in black and white or in color.
- Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE). For this test, the probe is passed down the esophagus instead of being moved over the outside of the chest wall. TEE shows clearer pictures of your heart, because the probe is located closer to the heart and because the lungs and bones of the chest wall do not block the sound waves produced by the probe. A sedative and an anesthetic applied to the throat are used to make you comfortable during this test.
Quality Mobile Ultrasound offers the ability for any of our partners to add (AE) as a service within their practice. Our Board-certified Sonogaphers are well versed in the use of modern techniques and cutting edge technology in order to help produce fast, efficient results so that a physician might be able to render a proper diagnosis in as timely a manner as possible.