Echocardiogram procedure is based on ultrasonic sound. Read on to know about the types and results of this procedure.
Echocardiogram is a procedure to examine the heart with the help of ultrasonic waves or sound waves. It is also known as ECG, EKG or simply ECHO. This procedure is also used at the time of sonography to examine the heartbeat and development of the fetus. Echocardiogram procedure is done to check the blood flow and proper functioning of the heart.
With the help of ultrasound waves the machine detects the heartbeat and makes a live image which is shown on the screen. There are many types of echocardiogram, which are used to get a better picture of different health conditions. Although it is very widely used to examine the heartbeat, there are some health risks related to the procedure. Let’s find out what are the types of echocardiogram and what are they used for.
Types and Procedure of Echocardiogram
There are many types of echocardiogram which are used to find out different information from the heart. Different echocardiogram codes are used for different procedures depending upon different standards. Your doctor may ask you to undergo any of the procedures according to the requirement.
This is a standard echocardiogram. In this method the sonographer spreads a gel on the chest and then attaches the transducers firmly on the chest. These transducers are electrodes which produce ultrasound beams inside your chest. These transducers then record the sound waves produced by the heart as it pumps the blood. These sound waves are then sent to the computer which then converts it into live images and displays them on the monitor. Intravenous dyes may also be used to improve the images or visuals.
Transesophageal echocardiogram procedure is used when the standard echocardiogram is not able to get clear pictures. In this method, the transducer is attached to a flexible tube which is inserted inside through the esophagus. The tube then goes inside and takes the pictures which are clearer and closer. This helps to get a detailed image of the heart. The throat is numbed with the help of a spray. Some sedative medications are also given to reduce the irritation during the examination.
There are some problems which are related to the coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart muscles. These coronary heart diseases come into picture only when the person is involved in some physical activities. So for these types of problems, stress echocardiogram procedure is very useful. In this process your ECG will be taken before the exercise and then immediately after the exercises. This helps in monitoring the working of heart in the stress conditions. People who are unable to walk or exercise are given some medications which forces the heart to work harder as it would work at the time of some physical exercise.
This procedure is used to measure the direction and the speed of the blood flow. When the blood moves through the heart and the blood vessels, they change their pitch. These changes are known as doppler signals and can be measured. These readings help in checking the blood pressure and blood flow which cannot be measured by using a normal echocardiogram.
This is the procedure which is used at the time of pregnancy. It is not recommended to all the pregnant women, as it might lead to some health risks. Fetal echocardiogram procedure is recommended only when there are some negative reports about the fetus in a normal ultrasound. This method helps in finding out the abnormal behavior of the fetus’ heart, as it gives detailed images of the fetus. This may help to save the baby if there are any complications.
The echocardiogram results may consist of detailed information about the heart and the blood flow. Following are some of the information we can get from the echocardiogram.
- Less participation of any part of the heart in the pumping may indicate less oxygen or heart attack or any kind of damage done to the heart.
- Damaged heart valve, high blood pressure and other heart diseases may result in the increased size of the chambers of heart. Echocardiogram may detect the seriousness and may help the doctor to decide the treatment.
- The doctor may find out the pumping strength of the heart which may help to determine amount of blood pumped in a minute. This will help to get treatment to avoid the risk of heart failure.
- This procedure may also help in finding out the problems related to the heart valve.
- Echocardiogram procedure is also very helpful in finding out about the normal working of baby’s heart before it takes birth.
There are some health risks related to this procedure which if taken care on time can diminish. The approximate overall echocardiogram cost is $500 to $2000. The cost may also depend upon the echocardiogram procedure used and the medications prescribed. So, take care of your heart to avoid the situation of undergoing echocardiogram. Eat healthy, exercise daily and keep your heart working.