Echocardiography

Echocardiogram is also known as cardiac echo or simply an echo is a test that uses sound waves to produce live images of your heart. The image is called as an echocardiogram. This test helps your doctor to monitor how your heart and its valves are functioning.

Hence, it detects problems in the human heart. The images can help them spot:
• Fluid in the sac around the heart
• Blood clots in the heart
• Problems with the aorta, which is the main artery connected to the heart

The two types of Echocardiogram are
1. Transesophageal Cardiogram (TEE)
2. Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE), and

INDICATIONS

You may require this test in the following cases:
• Irregular heartbeats
• To see a Valve Disease progress over a period of time
• To detect inflammation around the heart or fluid
• To check the artificial heart and functioning of the heart
• To check how effective a certain heart treatment was
• To check tumors and blood clots in the heart
• Heart making abnormal sounds
• Enlarged heart
• To check the dimensions of the heart
• The pressure that cannot be explained or Chest pain
• Shortness of breath

PRE-PROCEDURE
Before a transesophageal echocardiogram, you are not allowed to eat anything for a few hours to prevent you from vomiting during the test. You may also not be able to drive for a few hours after the test due to the sedatives.

DURING PROCEDURE
TEE:
• To numb the throat a sedative along with an anesthetic is given so that the patient is comfortable during the test.
• A scope down the esophagus is inserted, as it carries a device that transfers the sound waves out.
• This method gives a clearer picture of the heart than TTE.

TTE:
• This is one of the most used methods in which a transducer is placed on the ribs that are near the breastbone and then is directed to the heart. The device that sends sound waves of high frequency, is moved to different locations on the abdominal wall and the chest.
• By the transducer, sound wave echoes are picked up and then transmitted as electrical impulses, which are converted into moving pictures by the echocardiography machine. Still, pictures are taken too.
• With the help of Doppler Echocardiogram, the blood-motion through the heart is recorded.
• In case the sound waves are blocked by the Chest Wall bones, body tissue, lungs or ribs, resulting in lack of clarity in the pictures, a little amount of liquid might be injected by the cardiographer.

POST PROCEDURE
• Firstly the gel is cleaned from the chest.
• The result of the test is then discussed with the patient by the sonographer or the doctor.

RISK AND COMPLICATIONS
There might be few risks associated with TEE as this technique is invasive. Your doctor or sonographer will tell you about the possible risks. Whereas there are no risks in TTE.

MORE INFO
Cost:
The approx cost of 2D Echocardiogram ranges from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 3,000

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