Every year, 610,000 Americans die as a result of heart disease, which makes getting proper treatment extremely important if you have a cardiac health issue. Choice Family Medicine in Houston provides high-end echocardiograms to track the health of your heart. If you think you’ve been experiencing symptoms of heart disease or would like to learn more about the uses of echocardiograms, call or schedule an appointment online today.
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound test that evaluates the structures of your heart and the direction of blood flow within it.
Your heart is made up of four chambers and four valves. These structures are integral to the proper functioning of your heart. Any damage might cause the heart muscles to beat in an uncoordinated fashion, leading to improper blood flow throughout your body.
There are multiple types of echocardiograms, including:
Your provider at Choice Family Medicine places a transducer directly on your chest wall for a transthoracic echocardiogram. This allows sound waves to bounce from your heart to the transducer and directly to the computer.
If you’re getting a transesophageal echocardiography, your provider places a small tube that connects your throat to your stomach. This allows sound waves to come out much clearer and unobstructed by your ribs, muscles, and chest wall. You’ll need an anesthetic for this test.
A stress echocardiogram is performed after you’ve exercised. Your provider takes an image of your blood flow through a transducer placed directly on your chest wall.
You might experience shortness of breath and chest pain during an echocardiogram. In most cases, this is related to the physical exercise required to perform the test.
As sound waves bounce off blood cells, they change pitch. These pitch changes are called Doppler signals. Monitoring the signals in your body with a Doppler echocardiogram can help your provider at Choice Family Medicine measure the speed and direction of the blood flow in your heart.
Echocardiograms are used to diagnose heart problems. In some cases, echocardiograms are also essential in monitoring the process of your pre-existing treatment, its changes and improvements, and the potential need for further testing.
Echocardiograms can also determine:
Echocardiograms additionally test for coronary artery disease (CAD), which is damage or disease in your heart’s major blood vessels, and track abnormalities in your heartbeat’s rhythm.
Transthoracic echocardiograms do not pose any risks, though you might feel some discomfort when your provider removes the electrodes placed on your chest.
Transesophageal echocardiograms can leave you sore for a few hours after the procedure.
A stress echocardiogram poses risks related to exercise, including shortness of breath, chest pain, or an irregular heartbeat.
Call Choice Family Medicine or book an appointment online today to learn more about what echocardiograms can do for you.