Echocardiography

March 17 20:05 2019 Print This Article

A method of ULTRASOUND examination that allows observation and recording of the movements of the cardiac muscle and valves in action, and of blood flow through the heart. The ultrasound images, which are studied in conjunction with an ELECTROCARDIOGRAPH taken simultaneously, also provide information about the size, shape and flexibility of the chambers of the heart, the heart valves and the aorta (the artery into which the left ventricle pumps blood). The procedure, which is painless and harmless, takes between 15 and 60 minutes.

Echocardiography uses ultrasound that can provide a moving picture of your heart. The sound waves are sent through the body with a device called a transducer. A stress echocardiogram is an echocardiogram that is used in conjunction with exercise or medication to examine the heart when it is working hard. Echocardiography can detect possible blood clots inside the heart, fluid buildup in the sac around the heart (pericardium), and problems with the aorta (the main artery that carries oxygen-rich blood out of the heart).

Other Names for Echocardiography

  • Echo.
  • Surface echo.
  • Ultrasound of the heart.

Purpose

  • Diagnose heart problems.
  • This test may be used to monitor your progress if you already have a known heart condition.
  • Determine the need for additional tests.
  • An inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the heart.

What the risks are?

The risks are very low. Rare complications include:

  • Abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Heart attack.
  • Collapse.

How to prepare for the test?

  • Do not eat or drink for at least 3 hours before the test.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • Tell your doctor if you take any of your routine medicines on the day of the test.
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