We all know of ultrasounds to see babies in a womb, but have you ever heard of ultrasounds for your heart? When an issue arises involving the valves or chambers of your heart, a doctor will perform an ultrasound for further evaluation. This type of medical imaging is called an echocardiogram, or an echo for short. Now, you may be wondering, exactly what is an echocardiogram and what can it detect? Let’s take a closer look at this type of ultrasound to get a better idea. 

What is an Echocardiogram and What Can it Detect?

A trans-esophageal echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to visualize a patient’s heart and how the different parts are working. There are several types of echocardiogram tests. With a trans-esophageal echocardiogram, the procedure involves your esophagus, rather than your chest. This particular type of test is sometimes favored over a trans-thoracic echocardiogram because it can produce more detailed results. In a trans-esophageal echo, the ultrasound transducer, a probe that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy, is inserted into the throat and goes down the esophagus. This is done because your esophagus is in closer proximity to your heart and does not have to pass through muscle, skin, or bone tissue, producing a more accurate picture and a greater chance of diagnosis. To make sure you are comfortable during this portion of the procedure, the back of your mouth may be numbed before anything is inserted. Once the transducer is in place, it will begin to capture images of your heart. In all, a trans-esophageal echocardiogram only takes about 10 to 30 minutes to complete. For your comfort, this type of echo is performed under light sedation and a nurse will monitor you for some time after the procedure is finished.

A doctor may recommend a trans-esophageal echocardiogram if a patient is experiencing issues with their heart and/or blood vessels and more information is required. A trans-esophageal echocardiogram can detect heart and blood vessel diseases or conditions, which can lead to an accurate diagnosis for the patient. Some of these diseases and conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart valve disease
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Mitral valve disorders
  • Blood clots
  • Masses on or inside the heart
  • Tears of the lining of the aorta
  • Injury to the heart or aorta

Where To Get An Echocardiogram

Now that you know the ins and outs of echocardiography, you may be wondering where to get an echocardiogram. AMS Cardiology is one of the leading cardiologist groups that serves Norristown and the surrounding areas. For over 50 years, we have been preventing and treating all aspects of cardiovascular disease. Whether you’re looking to receive an echocardiogram or another service, we will be by your side through it all. Contact us today at (215) 517-1000 to learn more about our echocardiography services or to schedule an appointment. It is our mission to help your heart!