What is Echocardiography?

Updated at: Jul 09, 2014
What is Echocardiography?

Echocardiography is a diagnostic test that gives your doctor information about the size and shape of your heart and how well it is working. The test can also be used to detect heart problems in children.

Vasudha Bhat
Other DiseasesWritten by: Vasudha BhatPublished at: Jul 09, 2014

What is Echocardiography?

When ultrasound is used to examine the cardiovascular anatomy and hemodynamics it is known as echocardiography. The procedure is performed by a cardiac sonographer who has specialised in the field of echocardiograohy working in close contact with the patient throughout the procedure.

The echo can show the areas of heart muscles which are not contracting properly due to poor blood caused by an injury or a heart attack.
With help of an echo the blood clots formed inside the heart, a fluid buildup in the pericardium, and problems with the aorta can be detected.

Echocardiograohy Defined

Who Needs Echocardiography?

When signs and symptoms of a heart problem are seen, an echocardiography is recommended by a heath care provider. If a person experiences breathlessness or swelling in the legs can be sign of heart trouble. In such a condition an echo will detect well the heart in functioning.

Types of Echocardiography

There are majorly four types of echocardiography that use sound waves to create motion pictures of the heart. The same technology is used when the doctors examine an unborn baby inside the mother’s womb.

Transthoracic Echocardiography

This the most common kind of echocardiography test. It creates no pain to the patient and is does not require any surgery. A transducer is placed on the chest which creates sound waves called ultrasound though the chest wall to the heart.

Echocardiograohy Defined

Stress Echocardiography

This type is done as a part of the stress test. During this test, the patient is either given a medicine or is made to exercise to make the heart beat fast. The pictures of heart are taken before and after the exercise.

Transesophageal Echocardiography

When a health care provider is unable to check the aorta and other parts of the heart, the transesophageal echocardiography comes into role.

Fetal Echocardiography

This kind of echocardiography is used to check an unborn child’s heart. This type is used to detect any problem with an unborn child’s heart.

Three-Dimensional Echocardiography

A three-dimensional echocardiography is used to create a 3D image of the heart. These images are used to check the functioning of the heart.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

Read more on Echocardiography.


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