An echocardiogram, echocardiography, cardiac echo, or simply echo, is an ultrasound of the heart. This diagnostic test uses two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and Doppler ultrasound waves to evaluate and visualize heart valves, heart size, and heart muscle function. It is extremely similar to an ultrasound used to create an image of internal body structures, like a women’s womb. An echo test is the third most popular diagnostic procedure for patients with suspected heart conditions. Each test can last anywhere from 20 o 25 minutes. The test doesn’t hurt and can’t harm you. There are four common types of echocardiograms performed at AMS Cardiology.
- A transthoracic echocardiogram, or TTE, is non-invasive and generally involves a probe that is placed on the outside of the chest. It uses color-flow Doppler ultrasound to create moving images of the heart. In certain situations, images obtained by this method are not detailed enough.
- Since the esophagus runs so close to the heart, a TEE, or transesophageal echocardiogram, utilizes a probe that can be passed into this area, obtaining higher resolution images. This test is conducted under light sedation.
- A Doppler echocardiogram checks blood flow speed and direction and offers a better look at how blood moves through the heart. Often used in combination with transthoracic methods, a Doppler echocardiogram reveals more detailed images than a basic echocardiogram.
- A stress echocardiogram uses ultrasound imaging to test how well your heart and blood vessels are working, before and during exercise. If a patient can’t perform a light exercise, medication may be administered to stimulate the heart into pumping harder.
What Can It Detect?
Your doctor may suggest an echocardiogram to look at your heart’s structure and check how well it functions. If you experience chest pain, pain in your arms, neck, back, or jaw, shortness of breath, fatigue, or weakness, an irregular heartbeat, or swollen arms, legs, feet, or ankles are signs your doctor will look for when assessing you. An echo test can help your doctor find out:
- Size, shape, thickness, and movement of your heart’s walls
- Heart’s pumping strength
- If the valves are working properly or if they are too narrow
- Tumors around your heart valves
- Problems with the lining of your heart or large blood vessels
- Blood clots
- Abnormalities such as holes
Where to Get an Echocardiogram in Abington?
At AMS Cardiology, we specialize in comprehensive cardiovascular care. We are here for more than your heart—we are here to provide exceptional care and the highest quality of customer satisfaction in the Abington area and beyond. Our physicians provide a full range of care including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management. Our staff is fully trained and knowledgeable, answering all questions like, “What is an echocardiogram and what can it detect”? We recognize the rapid growth of cardiology and that’s why our team makes it their mission to be lifelong learners, always staying one step ahead with the latest in cardiovascular care. For more information or if you’re wondering where to get an echocardiogram, contact us today at 215-517-1000.