When you’re having heart problems, it’s important that you get tests and treatment to keep your heart as healthy as possible.
An echocardiogram is one of the tests that your doctor may use to see how your heart is working and determine the overall health of it. But tests can be scary when you don’t know what to expect, especially when it comes to your heart.
At the Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute, we help you figure out what’s going on with your heart. Our team is led by two heart and vascular care specialists, Dr. Hesham Fakhri and Dr. Abdulghani Saadi, who use echocardiograms along with other services to determine the health of your heart.
Why do you need an echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram is simply an ultrasound of your heart. This type of test uses specialized sound waves to create a detailed picture of your heart.
The sound waves are sent from the ultrasound probe and bounce off of your heart and back to the machine to create the picture. An echocardiogram isn’t invasive and doesn’t cause you any pain or discomfort.
But why do you need an echocardiogram in the first place? We may recommend an echocardiogram for several reasons when we need to get a picture of your heart. Some of the things an echocardiogram can see include:
- How your heart is pumping
- The overall shape and size of the heart
- Heart valve stenosis
- How your heart valves are working
- Heart valve regurgitation
- Abnormalities in your heart and valves
We also use the echocardiogram to see if you have any blood clots in your heart. We can see the pericardium, or outer lining of the heart, using this test, too.
If we think that you may be having problems in the large vessels of your heart or its chambers, we may also recommend an echocardiogram. This test is able to show us a very detailed picture of your heart to check for any problems or issues.
The echocardiogram procedure
There’s nothing to worry about when it comes to the actual procedure. An echocardiogram isn’t invasive and there are no needles or incisions involved. There’s no risk to you or your health, and it doesn't hurt.
For the procedure, you wear a gown with part of your chest exposed. You lie on your back, and the technician attaches small electrodes to your chest to monitor your heartbeat during the procedure.
The technician puts a gel on the sound-wave transducer then places the transducer on your chest and moves it around. The sound waves pass through your skin and bounce off of your heart.
The sound waves then come back to the machine, forming a picture of your heart and valves. Every image taken during the echocardiogram is saved in the monitor so that Dr. Fakhri and Dr. Saadi can review them later.
After the procedure
The echocardiogram takes about an hour, and afterward the technologist helps you remove the ultrasound gel from your chest. You then get changed into your clothes and wait for the results.
We evaluate the pictures from the echocardiogram to look for any issues. If everything looks good, you can go home without any further instructions.
But if your results are abnormal, we discuss the next steps in your treatment plan. This may involve more testing or other types of therapy, including medications or more invasive procedures.
If you need an echocardiogram, call one of our offices in Wesley Chapel, Sun City Center, or Tampa, Florida, or use our online system to request an appointment with one of our doctors today.