Your heart is one of the most important organs in the body. If your heart is having issues, it must be diagnosed and treated quickly to ensure you don’t have long-term effects on your health. One of the most common diagnostic tests used to check the heart is an echocardiogram. Similar to an ultrasound, it utilizes high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the heart. Unlike other diagnostic tests, the echocardiogram is painless and does not make use of radiation. The results of an echocardiogram show your heart’s valves, chambers, and level of functioning.
An echocardiogram is usually recommended to patients who experience chest pain and tightness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and other related symptoms. It provides critical information needed by a physician to make a clinical diagnosis of your condition.
An Abnormal Echocardiogram
Abnormal echocardiograms can reveal conditions such as the following:
Atrial fibrillation is a condition that causes an irregular and rapid heartbeat. Often due to poor blood circulation, it increases the risk of blood clots forming in the heart chambers and even heart failure. It can also reveal if you have had a heart attack in the past.
Cardiovascular diseases are often a result of high blood pressure or high cholesterol, which causes blood vessels to narrow and eventually lead to damaged heart muscles. A known complication of cardiovascular disease is myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke.
Heart Valve Disease
If any of the four heart valves are not opening or closing properly, it may be a sign of heart valve disease, which can affect blood flow to your heart. Symptoms of heart valve disease are chest pain, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
Thickening of Heart Walls
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease of the heart muscles that cause the walls of the heart to thicken. This obstruction can cause blood flow to decrease, which causes the heart to work much harder to pump blood.
Another condition that prevents the normal pumping of blood through the heart is pericardial effusion, which is the build-up of fluid in the heart that may be due to a heart attack, an infection of heart tissue, cancer, and complications following heart surgery. Symptoms include bulging neck veins, swelling in the arms, nausea, and fainting.
Abnormal echocardiogram results help doctors determine if further testing is necessary or if you need to be placed on a treatment plan. When it comes to your heart, there is no room for taking risks. If you experience any symptoms associated with your heart, it’s best to see a doctor and get tested.
Schedule an Echocardiogram in Irmo, SC
At SC Internal Medicine Associates and Rehabilitation, we offer echocardiogram as part of our diagnostic services. We understand how frightening and worrisome symptoms associated with your heart health can be. That’s why we work to deliver quick and accurate results from all of our highly advanced diagnostic tests.
To request a screening, call SC Internal Medicine Associates and Rehabilitation at (803) 749-1111. For an appointment with our physicians, you can submit an appointment request now. We look forward to helping you.