Echocardiography, commonly referred to as an echo test, is a painless, non-invasive procedure that utilizes high-frequency sound waves to create a graphic outline of the movement of the heart. The image produced in the procedure is referred to as an echocardiogram.
Electrocardiography is an essential tool in diagnosing heart problems and planning the appropriate course of treatment. The procedure is typically recommended to patients who either have strong risk factors for heart disease or are already exhibiting symptoms thereof, such as chest pain, tightness, and breathing issues—especially during physical activity. If during a physical examination, the doctor hears a murmur, they may also order an echocardiogram.
What an Echocardiogram Reveals
An echo test reveals abnormalities in the heart’s pumping strength and mechanism, size, and blood flow, among others, which may indicate a potentially serious problem.
o Any Damage to the Heart Muscle
Echo tests can identify any abnormalities in the parts of the cardiovascular wall, which may have been caused by a heart attack or by insufficient oxygen supply.
o Changes in the Size of the Heart
Heart enlargement (cardiomegaly) is a condition characterized by the widening of the chambers or abnormal thickening of the heart muscles. Heart enlargement is a symptom of underlying heart problems, such as coronary artery disease (a condition in which the major blood vessels that supply blood to your heart become damaged), heart infection, hypertension, among others.
o Problems with the Heart’s Pumping Strength
An echocardiogram shows information pertaining to the percentage of the blood being pumped out of a filled ventricle with each heartbeat (specifically referred to as ejection fraction) and the volume of blood being pumped every minute (cardiac output). Any irregularities in the measurements may signify that the heart isn’t pumping enough blood to meet the body’s needs, and this can lead to heart failure, symptoms of which include dizziness, fainting, fast heartbeat, and fatigue and weakness.
An echocardiogram can also help the doctor obtain information about:
- Blood clots in the heart chambers (atria and ventricles)
- Congenital heart defects
- Fluid in the sac around the heart (pericardium)
- Leakage of blood backward through the mitral valve (mitral regurgitation)
- Problems with the main artery connected to the heart (aorta)
- Pressures in the heart
- Tumors or other abnormalities around the heart valves
Echocardiogram in Irmo, SC
At SC Internal Medicine Associates and Rehabilitation, LLC, we offer an extensive range of diagnostic services, such as echocardiogram, nuclear cardiac testing, and bone density (DEXA) scans, on top of our internal medicine services to help our patients better manage their health. We have a highly trained staff who will guide you and provide you with adequate information about the procedure to ensure your comfort all throughout.
If you need more information about our services or would like to schedule an appointment for an echocardiogram, call us at (803) 749-1111 or use our easy-to-fill request form now.