19 Dec Echocardiogram
Alternative Names: Echocardiography, Echo, Ultrasound of the heart, Doppler ultrasound of the heart
An echocardiogram, or doppler ultrasound, uses sound waves (ultrasound) to create images of the heart’s functioning. This painless test is most commonly done in cases of angina and heart attack (ischaemic heart disease), heart failure, irregular heart beat (arrhythmia), and inflammation of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy). A rounded device (probe), placed on the skin, helps to create images shown on a screen. An echocardiogram cannot diagnose all heart problems.
What is it?
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound examination of the heart – ultrasound is a technique that uses sound waves to create images.
An echocardiogram is performed in a radiology facility or in a doctor’s rooms (if he has the equipment). It takes less than an hour to perform.
Why is it done?
An echocardiogram is done in many situations where more information is needed on the heart and its functioning.
Common indications include:
- Ischaemic heart disease (angina and heart attack)
- Heart failure
- Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat)
- Cardiomyopathy (inflammation of the heart muscle)
An ECG is often performed as a routine screening test although the value of this is somewhat controversial.
Before – how to prepare
No special preparation is needed.
During – how the test is done
You need to undress to the waist and lie on a couch. A gel is put on the skin and the ultrasound probe (rounded plastic or metal device) is placed on the skin. This probe transmits and receives the sound waves to create images and data on a screen. The procedure is totally painless.
After the test
The results will be available soon after the test is completed.
Risks and Compilations
There are no risks associated with ultrasound examinations.
Not all heart problems can be diagnosed with an echocardiogram and so other tests may be necessary.
An echocardiogram, or doppler ultrasound, uses sound waves (ultrasound) to create images of the heart’s functioning.
echocardiography, echo, ultrasound of the heart, doppler ultrasound of the heart