Echocardiography

Echocardiography or Echo is a type of ultrasound that uses sound waves to produce pictures of heart that can be seen on a video screen. Using this method, the diseases, ailments or malfunctioning of heart muscles can be spotted.

 

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Echocardiography is required in the following conditions:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Enlarged heart (cardiomegaly)
  • Endocarditis
  • Cardiomyopathy

 

 

Echocardiography is itself a diagnosis for various heart disorders.

It can be of following types:

  1. Doppler Echocardiogram: It measures the direction and speed of blood flow through the heart chambers, valves & blood vessels which may be displayed in black & white color.

  2. Stress ECHO: it is done in relax stage & then when heart is stressed either by exercise or by medicine to see if there is any decreased blood flow or abnormal heart muscle activity.

  3. Trans thoracic Echocardiogram: It is the most common type. A transducer obtains the view of the heart by moving it over chest or abdominal wall.

  4. Trans esophageal Echocardiogram: It is done by applying anesthetic on the throat and then passing a probe down the esophagus to obtain a clear pictures unhampered by the bones of chest wall.

 

No special care is needed, mild reaction to contrast agent may be there but it subsides itself in time.

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Echocardiography

Echocardiography or Echo is a type of ultrasound that uses sound waves to produce pictures of heart that can be seen on a video screen. Using this method, the diseases, ailments or malfunctioning of heart muscles can be spotted.

 

Symptoms

Echocardiography is required in the following conditions:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Enlarged heart (cardiomegaly)
  • Endocarditis
  • Cardiomyopathy

 

 

Diagnosis

Echocardiography is itself a diagnosis for various heart disorders.

Treatment

It can be of following types:

  1. Doppler Echocardiogram: It measures the direction and speed of blood flow through the heart chambers, valves & blood vessels which may be displayed in black & white color.

  2. Stress ECHO: it is done in relax stage & then when heart is stressed either by exercise or by medicine to see if there is any decreased blood flow or abnormal heart muscle activity.

  3. Trans thoracic Echocardiogram: It is the most common type. A transducer obtains the view of the heart by moving it over chest or abdominal wall.

  4. Trans esophageal Echocardiogram: It is done by applying anesthetic on the throat and then passing a probe down the esophagus to obtain a clear pictures unhampered by the bones of chest wall.

 

After Procedure

No special care is needed, mild reaction to contrast agent may be there but it subsides itself in time.

FAQ Section

1) What does an echocardiogram test for?

An echocardiogram is a test that utilizes high-frequency sound waves to make pictures of your heart. The test is also called echocardiography or echo. A diagnostic cardiac ultrasound allows your doctor to watch your heart as it beats to identify particular areas of concern.

2) What are the limitations of Echocardiogram?

Although the echo provides a lot of information about cardiac anatomy, the test does not visualize the coronary arteries or blockages in your coronary arteries. Cardiac catheterization is commonly performed if imaging the coronary arteries is necessary. Certain physical irregularities, such as a thick chest wall or emphysema, can intervene with visualization of the heart during an echocardiogram.

3) How is echo performed?

A technician or a doctor performs echo. Often, a technician does some or all of the test, but a doctor, usually a cardiologist, will look at the heart images while the patients are having their echo, and they\ may tune the transducer to visualize additional views, if necessary.

  • Pre-Test

Patients are asked to get dressed in an examination gown.

  • During the Test

As the test begins, the patients are made to lie on an examination table and a technician places some gel on their chest, followed by a transducer which is a small device shaped like a microphone. The transducer sends sound waves toward the patient's hearts. Like the sonar on a ship, the waves bounce off the structures of the heart and return to the transducer where they are collected and then processed by a computer and appear on a screen, providing a visual of the patients beating hearts. Patients may be asked to roll on their side or to hold their breath for a few seconds during the test. Usually, an echo usually takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete.

4) How safe is echocardiogram?

The echocardiogram is a completely safe procedure.

5) Why do you need an echocardiogram?

The physician may suggest an echocardiogram to check for problems with the valves or chambers of the heart, check if heart problems are the cause of symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain, and detect congenital heart defects before birth.

6) Do echocardiograms show clogged arteries?

Evidence of blockages in the arteries can sometimes be seen on echocardiography.

7) What are the warning signs of clogged arteries?

Clogged arteries may cause the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Weakness or dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Sweating

8) What will an echocardiogram reveal?

Information from the echocardiogram may reveal:

  • Changes in your heart size.
  • Pumping strength.
  • Damage to the heart muscle.
  • Valve problems. 
  • Heart defects (including defects present at the birth)

9) What is stress echocardiogram?

Some heart problems, particularly those involving the arteries that supply blood to your heart muscle, occur only during physical activity. In a stress echocardiogram, ultrasound images of the heart are taken before and immediately after the patient walks on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike, and if the patient is unable to exercise, he or she may get an injection of a medication to make their heart pump as hard as if they were actually exercising.

10) What is Doppler echocardiogram?

Sound waves change pitch when they bounce off blood cells that are moving through the heart and blood vessels. These changes which are also called Doppler signals can help the physician measure the speed and direction of the blood flow in the heart. This method is can also be used to check blood flow problems and blood pressure in the arteries of the heart which traditional ultrasound might not be able to detect. The blood flow shown on the monitor is colorized to help the physician pinpoint all problems.

11) What is the difference between an electrocardiogram and echocardiogram?

The electrocardiogram is the process in which the electrical activity of the heart is recorded over a period of time using electrodes placed over the skin. An echocardiogram is a test that utilizes high- frequency sound waves to make pictures of your heart. An electrocardiogram is used to test for damage to the heart’s tissues, an irregular heartbeat, chemical or electrolyte imbalances, and enlarged or thickened muscles in the walls of the heart’s chambers. An echocardiogram is used to test for tumors, infections, blood clots within the vessels of the heart, deficiencies in the heart’s ability to pump blood, signs of past heart attacks or other heart diseases, and defects in the heart’s valves.

12) What is the cost of echocardiogram in India?

The cost of echocardiogram in India is Rs 1500 - Rs 2000.