An echocardiogram is a test that makes use of ultrasound waves to take pictures of your heart in motion. The results acquired from this test allow the cardiologist to take a closer look at the functioning of your heart’s muscles and valves.

What Are The Uses Of An Echocardiogram?

You might be asked to take an echocardiogram to discover the existence of abnormalities in the function or structure of your heart. An echocardiogram is commonly used to find out if there are any underlying issues that can be easily missed by other types of heart tests.

It is also useful in finding out if your heart is responsible for various problems such as chest pain and shortness of breath. In addition to this, it also helps your cardiologist detect heart defects in unborn babies.

What Are The Types Of Echocardiograms?

The type of echocardiogram the cardiologist asks for, depends on what type of information he needs. The different kinds available are the transthoracic, transesophageal, and stress echocardiogram.

Transthoracic Echocardiogram

The most standard type of heart test that the cardiologist asks for is the transthoracic echocardiogram. The medical practitioner will press the transducer on your chest and send the sound waves towards your heart. A computer will collect the information from the ultrasound as they bounce back.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram

If your cardiologist wants to get additional information from your heart or the previous test didn’t provide adequate results, he will suggest a transesophageal echocardiogram. This is a variant of the test that will require him to guide a small transducer through a tube to the esophagus. The computer analyzes the sound waves from the device.

Stress Echocardiogram

Specific heart issues are only visible to the echocardiogram when you exert yourself physically. If this test is necessary, your cardiologist will ask to take a stress echocardiogram, which helps him discover problems in the coronary artery.

What Happens After An Echocardiogram?

Depending on the results received from the echocardiogram, your cardiologist will be able to determine if there are any underlying problems with your heart. The echocardiogram will reveal issues such as heart muscle damage, valve problems, pumping strength, defects, and changes in size.

How Do You Prepare For An Echocardiogram?

Make sure you arrive at the location of the test at least 15 to 30 minutes early, so that you don’t have to rush through the processes.

There are no restrictions when it comes to food and beverages. However, your cardiologist may ask you to stay away from caffeine for at least six hours before the test because it is known to increase the speed of your heart rate, making it difficult to find an accurate reading. If you have to take a transesophageal echocardiogram, you should ask your friend or family member to drive you home after the test.

Contact Our Office

The Houston Cardiovascular Institute can help analyze your heart to find potential problems early and save you from the stresses of a more serious health condition down the line. If you’re interested in learning more about echocardiograms and how they can help you, contact our office to schedule a consultation today.