Echocardiogram

Dr. Eko is a local leading expert in a number of key areas. As an internist and general medicine practitioner, Dr. Eko specializes in several procedures and diagnostic testing.

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Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram may require a referral to another provider or may just require ultrasound services, depending on the specific needs of the patient.

An echocardiogram produces a graphic outline of the movement of the heart. During an echocardiogram, an ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to provide pictures of the valves in the heart as well as the chambers. The images aid the sonographer in evaluating the heart’s overall pumping action. The test can also be combined with another test, the Doppler ultrasound to get a better evaluation of the blood flow in the heart’s valves.

There are a few different reasons patients may need an echocardiogram. The test can be used to assess the overall condition and functionality of the heart, without any specific attention to any one area. This can be done as part of a regular wellness visit or check-up, especially as patients age. However, an echocardiogram can also be used to pinpoint specific issues with the heart based on the patient’s symptoms. For example, the test can also be used to determine if there is any indication of heart disease which might include an issue with the heart’s valve. An echocardiogram can also be used to determine if there is pericardial disease, myocardial disease, infective endocarditis, congenital heart disease or cardiac masses.

There are a few different types of echocardiograms available:

  • Transthoracic echocardiogram
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram
  • Doppler echocardiogram
  • Stress echocardiogram

A transthoracic echocardiogram is the standard version. If the patient’s ribs or lungs block the view, an intravenous line can be used to inject a small amount of enhancing agent to produce better images.

A transesophageal echocardiogram will give more detailed pictures than the standard test. This procedure requires that your throat be numbed so that a flexible tub can be guided down the throat and into the esophagus. There is a transducer within that tube and it is that transducer that records the sound wave echoes coming from the patient’s heart. A computer is then used to provide moving images of the heart.

A doppler echocardiogram is usually used in tandem with the transesophageal and transthoracic echocardiograms. It is used to help check problems with blood flow and blood pressure in the heart’s arteries. This testing procedure is used when regular ultrasound is incapable of detecting those problems. The blood flow with this technique shows up in color which can help the physician to better determine any issues.

A stress echocardiogram takes images right before and right after the patient has been walking on a treadmill. A stationary bike can also be used. If the patient is unable to engage in the activity, a medication can be administered that mimics the effects exercise would typically have on the heart.

Most echocardiograms are completed in less than an hour, though some, in particular the transesophageal echocardiogram may require some observation after the test is completed.
If a specialist is needed following an echocardiogram, Dr. Eko will coordinate with that specialist to ensure a streamlined treatment plan and period check-ups.

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