Munson Health
 
Echocardiogram

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by Fucci MJ

(Echo; Heart Ultrasound; Ultrasound of the Heart)

 

Reasons for Test

An echocardiogram may be used to:
  • Evaluate a heart murmur
  • Diagnose valve conditions
  • Find changes in the heart's structure
  • Assess motion of the chamber walls and damage to the heart muscle after a heart attack
  • Assess how different parts of the heart work in people with chronic heart disease
  • Determine if fluid is collecting around the heart
  • Identify growths in the heart
  • Assess and monitor birth defects
  • Test blood flow through the heart
  • Assess heart or major blood vessel damage caused by trauma
  • Test heart function and diagnose heart and lung problems in very ill patients
  • Assess chest pain
  • Look for blood clots within heart chambers
 

What to Expect

Prior to Test

Your doctor may do the following:

Description of Test

A gel is put on your chest. This gel helps the sound waves travel. A small, hand-held device called a transducer is pressed against your skin. The transducer sends sound waves toward your heart. The sound waves are then reflected back to the device. The waves are converted into electrical impulses. These impulses become an image on the screen.
Still images or videotape moving images can be captured. To get clearer and more complete images, the transducer may be moved to different areas of your chest. You may be asked to change positions and slowly inhale, exhale, or hold your breath.

After Test

The gel is wiped from your chest.

How Long Will It Take?

30-60 minutes

Will It Hurt?

No

Results

The images are analyzed. Based on the findings, your doctor may recommend treatment or further testing.
 

RESOURCES

American Heart Association
http://www.heart.org

American Society of Echocardiography
http://asecho.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
http://ww2.heartandstroke.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

 

References


Huttemann E. Transoesophageal echocardiography in critical care. Minerva Anestesiol . 2006;72:891-913.


Sanderson JE, Chan WW. Transoesophageal echocardiography. Postgrad Med J . 1997;73:137-140.


What is echocardiography? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/echo/echo%5Fwhatis.html . Updated October 31, 2011. Accessed March 5, 2013.


Who needs echocardiography? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/echo/whoneeds.html . Updated October 31, 2011. Accessed March 5, 2013.

 

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