In an echocardiogram, sound waves are used to produce images of your heart. Doctor’s use this exam to determine how the heart is beating and pumping blood. Using the images produced by an echocardiogram, doctors can identify various abnormalities in the heart’s muscle and valves.
Primary Principles of Echocardiogram
Frequencies higher than 20 kHz are referred to as ultrasound. Ultrasound waves are measured by frequency, wavelength, amplitude, and velocity of propagation. These phenomena are the basis of the clinical applications and calculations of an echocardiogram. When ultrasounds waves interact with tissues it results in reflection. Wavelength is important because the higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength and the better the image resolution. The better the image resolution the easier it is for the physician to diagnose a potential problem. An echocardiogram can be performed in a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office. The exam is administered by a trained ultrasound technician.
There are different types of echocardiograms and each provides different information. Depending on what your doctor needs to know you may require one of the following types: Transthoracic Echocardiogram: The standard, noninvasive echocardiogram, is conducted by using a device known as a transducer. Gel is spread on the chest area, and the transducer is pressed firmly against the skin, sending an ultrasound beam through your chest to the heart. The device records the sound wave echoes from the heart, and the computer converts the echoes into moving images on the monitor.
Transesophageal Echocardiogram: If a standard echo exam does not produce adequate images of your heart a transesophageal echo may be required. To perform this exam, a flexible tube containing a transducer is guided down the throat and into the esophagus. From the esophagus the transducer can obtain more-detailed images of the heart. The throat is numbed to prevent pain, and medication is provided to help the patient relax during the exam. Doppler Echocardiogram: Used to determine the speed and direction of blood flow in your heart. Stress echocardiogram: Some heart problems can only be identified during exercise. During a stress echocardiogram ultrasound images of the heart are taken before and immediately after walking on a treadmill or using a stationary bike. If you are unable to exercise, an injection can be used to stimulate the heart.
Echocardiogram at Dayton Dandes Medical Center
At Dayton Dandes Medical Center our patients can receive echocardiograms in the comfort of our convenient medical facility. Trained practitioners will administer the exam, and help you stay relaxed during the process. To learn more about echocardiograms or to schedule an appointment give our office a call.