An echocardiogram is a type of noninvasive diagnostic test that produces images of your heart. This imaging shows how the heartbeats and pumps blood and will help identify signs of heart disease. A doctor may order an echocardiogram if you are experiencing symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath.
Let’s talk more about an echocardiogram – how it produces images of the heart, the different types of echocardiograms, and what happens during the test.
How an Echocardiogram Creates Images
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images. The sonographer uses a handheld device called a soundwave transducer, which transmits high-frequency soundwaves. The technician moves the device around the chest to create a complete picture of the heart. Images of the heart’s valves and chambers are formed on the screen by way of soundwaves bouncing between the heart and the transducer instrument.
This ultrasound test is also known as a transthoracic echocardiogram is the most common type of echocardiogram. However, there are various diagnostic tests that your doctor may order depending on what will best make a diagnosis. They may order a transesophageal echocardiogram or a stress echocardiogram.
A transesophageal echocardiogram involves the use of a flexible tube with a transducer, guided down your throat and into the esophagus. This particular method produces a clearer image because the heart and esophagus are right next to each other. What also makes this imaging more clear is that the sound waves do not have to pass through layers of skin, muscle, and bone.
A transesophageal echocardiogram is effective for ruling out infections, cancer, regurgitation of blood, and blocked arteries. It can check for blood clots in the upper chamber, particularly after a stroke. Patients who are obese or those with lung disease may be better suited for a transesophageal echocardiogram.
The doctor may order a stress echocardiogram or stress test if you experience chest pain and shortness of breath during physical activity. Some heart problems, such as coronary artery problems, only present symptoms during physical activity.
During this test, the sonographer takes images of the patient’s heart while it is at rest. An image of the heart while the heart rate and blood pressure are elevated is needed for comparison. The other images can be obtained in one of two ways. Either the patient will engage in cardiovascular exercise (use of a treadmill or stationary bike), or a drug will be administered that elevates the heart rate. While the heart is beating faster, the sonographer captures images.
An echocardiogram is a very useful diagnostic tool for patients with suspected heart issues. To ensure you get accurate test results, choose a reputable diagnostic facility in Irmo, South Carolina.
Echocardiogram in Irmo, SC
If you are looking for a facility for your echocardiogram, look no further than SC Internal Medicine Associates & Rehabilitation. For decades, we have served healthcare needs for the community of Irmo. We offer a range of diagnostic tests to evaluate the heart – echocardiograms, nuclear cardiac stress testing, Holter monitoring, and more
Our facility has been recognized for providing accurate test results and compassionate, patient-centric care. We strive to provide patients a pleasant and convenient experience in our facility. To schedule your test, call us today at (803) 749-1111 or use our appointment request form.