An echocardiogram is a painless test used in monitoring and diagnosing cardiovascular issues. If you are experiencing symptoms of a heart problem, have been diagnosed with a heart condition, or have had a heart attack, your doctor might recommend an echocardiogram. You can undertake a Port Saint Lucie echocardiogram to view the functionality of your heart valves, chambers, and blood vessels to diagnose any cardiac abnormalities. This article will go through what an echocardiogram is and what you should expect during the test.
How Does an Echocardiogram Work?
Commonly referred to as an ECG, this diagnostic cardiac ultrasound scan utilizes high-frequency sound waves. These sound waves create a detailed representation of the functioning of your heart that the doctor views via a monitor. Your doctor uses a transducer to transmit sound waves into your skin and underlying tissues and then spring back when they get to your heart. the sound waves are transmitted to the computer software for translation and diagnosis. Your doctor can use the data to help diagnose symptoms of heart disease, cardiac issues, abnormalities in blood vessels, heart valve dysfunction, tumors, and holes between the chambers.
What Type of Echocardiogram Might You Need?
Doctors often recommend a transthoracic echocardiogram as the first test for most patients. The procedure involves passing a transducer over your chest as you rest. However, if this echocardiogram does not diagnose your problem, your doctor might recommend two other types.
- Transesophageal Echocardiogram
If you have scar tissue or excess fat over your chest, a transthoracic echocardiogram might not provide the detailed, clear images your doctor requires. A transesophageal echocardiogram involves getting the transducer to your heart by inserting it down your esophagus for a clear view.
- Stress Echocardiogram
If the transthoracic echocardiogram test cannot diagnose any issues with your heart, the problem will become detectable when your heart pumps harder. To undertake a stress echocardiogram, you will need to start by working out on a treadmill to increase your heart rate. If you can’t exercise, your doctor can recommend medications that produce the same effect.
What Should You Expect During an Echocardiogram
An echocardiogram test is conducted in a hospital or doctor’s office by a trained specialist known as a sonographer. You don’t need special preparations; the test normally takes half to one hour. However, if you are undergoing a transesophageal echocardiogram, it’s recommendable not to eat anything for about eight hours before undertaking the test to ensure you don’t vomit. Also, you might be unable to drive for some hours afterward because of the sedatives.
During the test, you will remove your clothes from the waist and lie on the table on your back or left side. The exact test procedure will depend on the type of echocardiogram. After the transthoracic echocardiogram test, you can immediately return to your regular activity. However, you might need to stay at the clinic for hours after a transesophageal echocardiogram.
Ultimately, echocardiograms indicate how well your heart is functioning and highlight areas where there is an issue. Most of the tests are noninvasive, but the doctor can sometimes inject agitated saline or contrast dye to get a clearer picture. The test is an effective way to provide accurate information about your heart. It will also help your doctor diagnose cardiovascular and heart issues and customize the right treatment.