What is Echocardiogram
Echocardiogram or echocardiography, usually referred to as an ‘echo,’ is a test which uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create images of your heart size, structure, and movements along walls, septum, chambers, valves and blood vessels.
The echo test procedure involves moving a probe called ‘transducer’ over the anterior chest wall over the heart; the sound waves which hit the heart and bounce back to the probe will get converted into images and visualized on the monitor. These images can also be recorded and taken as hard copies which can later be read if necessary.
Now, let us see the question ‘what does an echocardiogram show?’
What Does an Echocardiogram Show
Cardiologists who are experts in the study of cardiovascular system uses Echocardiograms to,
Identify size, shape and movements of the heart walls – An enlarged heart can be a result of chronic hypertension, patent heart valves or cardiac failure. Increased thickness of heart wall is usually a result of hypertension, congenital heart defect or valvular dysfunction.
Identify the pumping strength of the heart muscle – Damage from a previous a heart attack can result in weakened heart muscles. This can be an early sign of coronary artery disease if echocardiogram images show areas which are at a risk of getting less perfused.
Diagnose health conditions related to heart and its related structures
- Any tumor of infectious growth in the heart valves and other related structures
- Problems with the outer lining of the heart known as Pericardium
- Blood clots lodged in heart chambers
- Abnormal holes between heart chambers
- Regurgitation (leaking) or stenosis (narrowing) of heart valves
Assess the severity and determine the treatment options
Monitor improvement or changes of any diagnosed condition to medication
Deciding if any other investigations are necessary
There are no side effects or complications caused by echocardiography.
“Ventricular Septal Defect” (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia