A patient with heart valve disease has a malfunctioning heart valve and is likely experiencing symptoms associated with the condition, such as chest pain, a strong heart murmur, shortness of breath, feeling tired or fatigued, and fainting spells. A heart valve issue needs to be evaluated by a doctor. There are complications associated with heart valve disease that include heart failure, blood clots, and stroke. If you visit the doctor complaining of chest pain and difficulty breathing and they detect a strong heart murmur, chances are they will recommend an echocardiogram to check for heart valve disease and determine how serious it is.
What is an Echocardiogram?
Also called echocardiography, an echocardiogram is a diagnostic tool used to take a closer look at your heart and its structures. The tool utilizes ultrasound technology to create pictures of your heart. Patients with more severe symptoms of heart valve disease are recommended a yearly echocardiogram.
An echocardiogram can detail the shape of your heart, the size and thickness of the chambers, the pumping mechanism and strength, and how well the heart valves are working. Damage to the heart muscle, blood regurgitation, a narrowing of the heart valves, as well as tumors and defects will also come up in an echocardiogram.
An echocardiogram is both a diagnostic tool and a monitoring tool. Patients with little or no symptoms may use it to observe any changes that indicate a progression of a disease. Patients with specific heart problems may need more frequent echocardiograms.
Types of Echocardiograms
A standard transthoracic echocardiogram is a painless procedure that has few, if any, risks. The technician will have you lie on your back, spread gel on a transducer, and press it against your skin to record the sound waves echoing from your heart. In order to improve detail, the doctor may inject a contrast agent. A transesophageal echocardiogram entails guiding a flexible tube with a transducer attached to it down your throat and into your esophagus to take clearer images of your heart. Doppler technology may be used alongside a thoracic or transesophageal echocardiogram to check the direction and speed of blood flow in your heart and reveal blood flow issues. All in all, an echocardiogram is a safe test that exposes you to zero radiation.
Echocardiogram Tests in Irmo, SC
At SC Internal Medicine Associates and Rehabilitation, LLC., we offer quick and convenient diagnostic services. An echocardiogram requires no special preparation and is completed in no more than an hour. Our health care team and staff believe that the first step to recovery is getting an accurate diagnosis.
We are ready to provide a positively memorable experience in our facility. As a patient-centered medical home (PCMH), we are a model for patient care, maintaining long-term healing relationships with our patients. If you have questions about our diagnostic services or if you would like to see an internal medicine doctor regarding your symptoms, call (803) 749-1111 or use our convenient online request form.