Categories of Echocardiograms You Should Know About

If you suspect you have heart issues, you will visit a cardiologist. To properly determine your problem, they will use an echocardiogram, which creates images of your heart using sound waves. Since it is non-invasive, it is generally safe. If that motivates you to go for cardiac tests, visit any Port Saint Lucie echocardiogram facility.

Your healthcare provider understands that not all echocardiograms can detect the same heart issues. That explains why there are different types. Here are five of them that cardiologists use.

Stress Echocardiogram

Doctors use this machine to detect blood flow decreases to the heart after narrowing in the coronary arteries. Your doctor will ask you to lie on your left side with your left arm out. This position allows them to hold a transducer against your chest.

Your doctor will ask you to walk on a treadmill for 5-15 minutes to get your heart readings. You can stop when you become tired or experience chest pains. If you cannot exercise, your cardiologist will give you dobutamine, a drug that increases your heartbeat.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram

In this test, your doctor inserts a probe with a transducer down your esophagus. Since sound waves do not pass through the skin or muscle, they will get clear images of your heart. Additionally, the heart is closer to the esophagus, which makes gathering readings even easier.

This echocardiogram analyzes issues such as blood clots, mitral valve disorders, and masses inside the heart. Cardiologists can also use it to evaluate the heart during open-heart surgery. As convenient as this test is, it is unsuitable for people with obesity or esophageal varices.

Doppler Echocardiogram

This device creates images of your heart using Doppler technology. Thanks to technology, doctors can get clear images of the movement of your tissues and body fluids. That is because it comprises two components: brightness mode (showing the anatomy of organs) and Doppler mode (showing blood flow).

If the echocardiogram records abnormal blood flow from the heart, it will mean there is a problem with one or more of the heart’s valves. As a result, some organs will not receive enough blood, and you may experience chest pain, numbness, and bulging veins. Therefore, they will correct the defect through heart valve replacement.

Transthoracic Echocardiogram

The test lets your doctor see your heart, its chambers and valves, and nearby blood vessels. With this test, cardiologists can identify cardiac-related symptoms such as edema, chest pain, dyspnea, and heart murmur. Like the previous echocardiogram, it uses Doppler ultrasound to create images.

During this test, your doctor will ask you to lie down. Next, they will squirt special gel onto your skin which helps in sound transmission. After holding a transducer to your skin, you will keep changing lying positions or breathing a certain way.

Nuclear Stress Echocardiogram

This procedure shows how blood goes to the heart at rest and during exercise. It uses a minute amount of radioactive material (tracer) to record blood flow along the arteries. This test is best for patients with coronary heart disease.

Based on your results, your cardiologist will create the appropriate treatment plan. Once again, they will use this test to determine how effective the treatment is. Besides monitoring your treatment, your doctor can tell how much exercises you can handle.

We established how safe echocardiograms are since they do not use X-rays. However, they are side effects that you may experience depending on the type of test. You may have difficulty swallowing if you get a transesophageal echocardiogram. Fortunately, doctors can remedy that with medication.

However, do not let the side effects of echocardiograms deter you from seeking tests. You would rather endure them than struggle to live with heart disease. When you get it, you will suffer symptoms that outnumber an echocardiogram’s side effects.

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Chiara Brunner