Why might I need an ultrasound?
If you suffer from symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath, an ultrasound is often performed to evaluate the overall health and function of your heart. An ultrasound can also help determine if there are issues with the valves and chamber of your heart.
Ultrasounds can identify a number of cardiac conditions, including:
- Pericardial disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart arrhythmia
- Valve disease
- Carotid artery disease
An ultrasound provides live-action images of your heart’s valves and chambers. Depending on your needs, there are several different types of ultrasounds that ECCA can use to evaluate your heart health.
What is an echocardiogram?
In cardiac medicine, the standard ultrasound procedure is an echocardiogram or transthoracic echocardiogram. The echocardiogram provides your ECCA doctor with general information about the health and function of your heart.
To perform the echocardiogram, your doctor applies a gel to the ultrasound device (called a transducer) and guides it along several areas of your chest. Echocardiograms are often paired with Doppler technology to produce images of your blood flow.
What is a transesophageal echocardiogram?
A transesophageal echocardiogram is an ultrasound that produces more detailed images of your heart. Unlike standard echocardiograms, which are performed externally, transesophageal echocardiograms are performed internally through the esophagus.
To perform this ultrasound, first, a numbing agent is applied to the throat to help you relax and minimize any discomfort.
Your doctor then inserts a thin, flexible tube fitted with a transducer through your mouth and guides it down your throat to your esophagus. The transducer emits and records sound waves and converts them into high-quality images of your heart.
What is a stress echocardiogram?
If your ECCA doctor is concerned about potential problems with your arteries and blood flow, they may recommend a stress echocardiogram. A stress echocardiogram records images of your heart both before and after physical activity.
During the test, you use a treadmill or stationary bike to increase your heart rate. If you’re unable to exercise, your doctor administers a drug that mimics the effects of exercise on the heart.
ECCA also provides head-to-toe ultrasounds to observe vascular issues areas all over the body.
Ultrasounds are painless, require no downtime, and typically only take about 30 minutes. To speak with a cardiac specialist about your heart health, book an appointment by phone or online today at ECCA.