If you are concerned about the health of your heart, or just want to make sure you are in good shape, echocardiography can be used to create a picture of your heart that may show if you are developing any heart problems. Also called an echo, it is an ultrasound test that propels high-pitched sound waves through a transducer into the body. This device sees the echoes that are bouncing off the heart. The echoes are translated into pictures of the heart on a screen. There are several different types of echocardiograms.
The transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) is the most common one used. During this text, a transducer is moved around to different areas of your chest. The main reason this type of echo is done is to look for the cause of unusual sounds, such as clicks and murmurs as well as an enlarged heart, shortness of breath, unexplained chest pains and irregular heartbeats. Our specialist may also see the thickness of the heart wall, the valves, the size of the chambers, how the heart is pumping and diseases, such as tumors and blood clots.
A stress echocardiogram is performed before you do exercise and after you do exercise. This is to see if you have coronary artery disease. It is used to monitor reduced blood flow, which shows up after some kinds of stress.
The Doppler echocardiogram shows how your blood is flowing through all areas of your heart. The direction and speed of blood flow is measured. This type of echo can be done during one of the other echoes. It measures the speed of the blood, blood pressure and the speed of the blood flowing through the heart valves.
Echocardiography is done in the comfort of our office in Oakland. The technician places small disc electrodes on the patient’s chest. These discs are connected to an electrocardiograph machine by wires. The room may be dark, so the technician can better read the monitor. A gel will be put on the patient’s chest to help the sound waves enter the body. At times, the technician may ask the patient to change position or hold his or her breath to get better pictures. The sound waves are changed into pictures on the monitor and saved so that our specialist can look at them later.
The echocardiography tests at Cardiac Associates of North Jersey are considered to be comfortable, and no previous preparation is usually required. We encourage you to schedule an appointment at our office in Oakland to learn more about how these tests can help you. Contact us today to request a consultation.