Is an Echocardiogram Right For Me?

An echocardiogram (echo or ECG) is “the most cost-effective, safe and portable tool for cardiac diagnosis”. Cardiologists also use echos to check heart function.

Echo uses sound waves to make pictures of your beating heart- the atria, ventricles, valves, aorta, arteries, and veins attached to your heart. From the echo, your cardiologist can see the size and shape of your heart, the thickness and movement of your heart muscle, how well the chambers and valves in your heart are working, and the force with which your hearts contracts. This information allows your cardiologist to determine if your heart and valves are working correctly and shows the health of your heart muscle and blood vessels in and around the heart. Your cardiologist can calculate the ejection fraction and identify and problems with your heart, valves or blood vessels.

The most useful facts about Echocardiogram are listed below:

  • Acute myocardial infarction or heart attack
  • Cardia arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythms
  • Acute cerebrovascular disease or loss of blood flow to the brain such as in a stroke
  • Congestive heart failure also called CHF
  • Sepsis, a life threatening response to an infection

It is important to remember that echo is not for everyone. There are a list of medical conditions which require an echocardiogram and you should get in touch with your doctor for that.

Different types of echo tests are performed to judge distinct parameters within the heart. The Transthoracic test detects the presence of any abnormality in the heart. It detects the movement and thickness of the heart wall and check for the functioning of the heart valve. Ailments such as cardiomyopathy, tumors, and blood clots are conveniently detectable with the help of this procedure.

The transthoracic echo test is, on the other hand, helps find out congenital defects within it. If a patient has met with a surgery then its efficacy is easily detectable with this test. Therefore, if you have met with a heart failure or a heart attack or suspect of thickening of lining around the heart, or collection of fluids around the hear, then all this is detectable only through this test.

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