An echocardiogram is an important tool for cardiologists because it gives an assessment of the overall function of your heart. It helps doctors diagnose a number of different heart problems, and can show whether or not your current treatment plan is working.
At Indus Cardiology, Dr. Yogesh Paliwal and his staff use echocardiogram tests to diagnose problems, get a better understanding of your heart function, and to assess the efficacy of your treatment. One of the benefits is immediacy — we do the test in our office, so we can see the images right then.
What we learn from an echocardiogram
An echocardiogram uses ultrasound technology, so you’re not exposed to radiation during the test. Instead, sound waves generate detailed images of your heart function.
Two of the first things we see during an echocardiogram is the size and shape of your heart. We can also immediately see the blood vessels that carry blood through your heart.
Some of the other information we can gather from an echocardiogram includes:
- The size of the chambers of your heart
- How thick the walls of your heart are
- Blood vessel structure
- How the valves of your heart function
- The blood flowing through your heart
- Any blood clots in your heart or blood vessels around it
- Whether or not you have any tumors in your heart
- Muscle damage
- The strength of your heart’s pumping
- The membrane surrounding your heart (the pericardium)
We use different types of echocardiograms in order to learn what we need to know to make an accurate diagnosis.
The types of echocardiograms
We have the capability to perform a variety of echocardiograms. The type we choose depends on what we want to learn about your heart. Here are some of the types you may undergo.
This type of test is ideal for showing your heart’s structure and movement in real time. It’s often considered the foundation of heart imaging.
We can also perform a 3D echocardiogram which provides more detail.
This type of echocardiogram shows us how the blood is moving through your blood vessels. With it, we can see how much blood is pumped through your heart with each beat and detect abnormalities in how your blood is flowing.
When we need to make careful measurements, we use an M-mode echocardiogram, which produces a one-dimensional tracing of your heart. We can tell exactly how thick the walls of your heart are, and the exact size of each of the chambers.
Conditions we diagnose with echocardiograms
We can diagnose the cause of your symptoms, plan your treatment, and monitor ongoing treatment with echocardiograms. A few of the conditions we can diagnose include:
- Heart failure
- Inflammation of your pericardium
- Fluid around your heart (congestive heart failure)
- Leaky valves
- Narrowing valves (stenosis)
- Atrial fibrillation
- Coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis)
- Damage from a heart attack
- Congenital heart defects
If you’ve already had a heart attack or stroke, we use an echocardiogram to check your heart health, and to make sure your blood vessels are functioning as they should.
If you’d like to learn more about echocardiograms and how we use them, schedule an appointment at Indus Cardiology today. We’re always happy to answer your questions.