If your recent checkup uncovered a possible heart issue, your internist may have ordered an echocardiogram. This is an ultrasound of the heart, showing real-time video of its function and structure just like an ultrasound of a fetus during a pregnancy. Note that this is different than an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), which is a graph-like tracking of a heart’s rhythm.
An echocardiogram is performed to monitor your heart and valves for issues such as infection or heart disease. Your internal medicine practitioner may recommend this test if you have had chest pains, shortness of breath, or other cardiovascular symptoms.
Let’s talk about what you can expect from having an echocardiogram, and where you can go for a check of your heart health here in the Midlands.
What You’ll See on the Screen
At the start of your test, the lights in the room will be dimmed in order to make the image on the monitor easier to see during the procedure. The echocardiogram will display the structure and size of your heart’s chambers and valves. It will also show the septum, which is the wall that separates your right heart chambers from the left.
You’ll be able to watch the different chambers and valves of your heart working. The white portions are the structures of your heart, and the black portions indicate blood and fluids.
What Heart Size Means
Your doctor might mention the size of your heart. While heart size can vary based on your weight, gender, and ethnicity, your practitioner can tell if your heart is enlarged by looking at the echocardiogram. An enlarged heart could be due to high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, or leaky heart valves.
Heart Valve Problems
During the echocardiogram, your practitioner will look for heart valve problems. For instance, your doctor can identify whether your heart valves are opening and closing properly.
Heart Muscle Strength
Your heart is indeed a muscle, and an echocardiogram can reveal how well your heart is pumping. Your practitioner can identify any areas of weakness in your heart. It can also reveal whether or not you have had a heart attack or have heart disease.
Your doctor may evaluate your aorta – the largest artery in your body. It’s responsible for carrying oxygenated blood from your heart throughout your body through the arteries. Your doctor will look for signs of an aortic aneurysm.
Internal Medicine for Cardiac Care in Irmo, SC
If you are looking for a skilled internist here in the Midlands to maintain optimum health, schedule an appointment with a member of our dedicated and highly experienced medical team at SC Internal Medicine Associates & Rehabilitation. We will conduct a full physical, perform scans if necessary, and provide solutions to anything that needs to be addressed.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (803) 749-1111 or by filling out our convenient online request form now. We look forward to being your partner in health!