An echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to create images of the heart. A Doppler test uses sound waves to measure the speed and direction of blood flow. By combining these tests, a pediatric cardiologist gets useful information about the heart’s anatomy and function. Echocardiography is the most common test used in children to diagnose or rule out heart disease and also to follow children who have already been diagnosed with a heart problem. This test can be performed on children of all ages and sizes including fetuses and newborns.
Echocardiography diagnoses cardiac problems, and also guides heart surgery and complex cardiac catheterizations. Our digital echocardiography makes it seamless for physicians throughout the region to instantly send Children’s cardiologists echocardiograms for review 24/7 from any computer.
What problems can echocardiography diagnose?
Several cardiac conditions may be detected by echocardiography, including the following:
- Heart murmur
- Chest pain
- Congenital heart disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Valve disease
What are the different types of echocardiogram?
There are four special types of echocardiography:
- M-mode echocardiography
This is the simplest type of echocardiography, and produces an image that is similar to a tracing rather than an actual picture of heart structures. M-mode echo is useful for measuring heart structures, such as the heart’s pumping chambers, the size of the heart itself, and the thickness of the heart walls.
- Doppler echocardiography
The Doppler technique is used to measure and assess the flow of blood through the heart’s chambers and valves. The amount of blood pumped out with each beat is an indication of the heart’s functioning. Also, Doppler can detect abnormal blood flow within the heart, which can indicate such problems as an opening between chambers of the heart, a problem with one or more of the heart’s four valves, or a problem with the heart’s walls.
- Color Doppler
Color Doppler is an enhanced form of Doppler echocardiography. With color Doppler, different colors are used to designate the direction of blood flow. This simplifies the interpretation of the Doppler technique.
- 2-D (2-dimensional) echocardiography
This technique is used to see the actual structures and motion of the heart structures. A 2-D echo view appears cone-shaped on the monitor, and the real-time motion of the heart’s structures can be observed. This enables the physician to see the various heart structures at work and evaluate them.
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