An echocardiogram is usually an examination that uses sound waves to view the heart. You can do it in a research lab or clinic, but it can be conducted in some hospitals during surgery. Echocardiograms are used to diagnose many types of cardiovascular conditions, including myocarditis, cardiomyopathy, heart valve diseases, congenital heart defects, and many more. An echocardiogram measures the amount of blood pumped out with every heartbeat and the movement of the walls, valves, and chambers inside the heart. If you want to learn more about echocardiograms, you should consult with a Tomball echocardiograms specialist. Here is some info about the different types of echocardiograms and what they do.
A transthoracic echocardiogram is used to get a closer look at what’s going on in the heart. A probe, which sends sound waves, is placed onto the skin above the chest. It can be done with you lying on your back or sitting up. The probe relays audio signals that bounce off various body parts and sends them to a computer. The probe is connected to a monitor so that the doctor can see what’s going on inside your heart. The transthoracic echocardiogram usually takes 30-45 minutes since there are different things to look at in each part of the heart (4 chambers, valves, blood vessels around the heart). Generally, a transthoracic echocardiogram can be completed in a doctor’s office.
A stress echocardiogram is a diagnostic test that uses imaging techniques to show how your heart functions during physical activity. A stress echocardiogram may also be called an exercise or dobutamine stress echocardiography. The patient takes a dobutamine medication to improve blood flow to the heart while monitoring an echocardiogram. The dobutamine will make the heart pump harder, allowing doctors to see how it functions normally and under stress. Patients are monitored with an electrocardiograph (or ECG) machine that records the heart’s electrical activity during exercise. The test takes about 40-60 minutes for each phase of imaging.
A Doppler echocardiogram is a particular ultrasound test that evaluates blood movement through the heart and major blood vessels. It can help doctors diagnose various conditions, including structural problems or congenital heart defects. The doppler technique uses a transducer to send out high-frequency sound waves. This transducer picks up returning sound waves that bounce off the blood cells. The Doppler echocardiogram is usually completed in a doctor’s office.
A TEE, a transesophageal echo, is an echocardiogram that uses ultrasound to examine the heart and major blood vessels. A probe is placed in the esophagus, normally done under conscious sedation or twilight anesthesia. The images from this test can be more precise than images from a transthoracic echocardiogram since it provides a direct view of the heart. This test helps doctors get a better look at valve positions, heart structures, and blood flow through the heart. In some cases, a TEE can provide better information than a transthoracic echocardiogram when it is difficult to hear what’s going on in the chest with a stethoscope.
In summary, an echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to visualize the heart’s workings. There are various echocardiograms used for different purposes, including a transthoracic echo, stress echo, doppler echo, and transesophageal echocardiogram. A specialist will determine the right depending on various factors.