An echocardiogram, also known as an echo, is a type of ultrasound scan that looks at the heart muscle, chambers and valves. Using a probe, high-frequency sound waves are sent into the patient’s heart. These sound waves bounce off different parts of the heart and surrounding areas and create a moving picture of the heart valves and chambers. An echocardiogram is usually performed by a cardiologist, a cardiac physiologist or a trained sonographer. An echo test is a relatively quick, safe and painless procedure. There are also no known side effects.
There are several different types of echocardiogram tests, used for different reasons:
1. A transthoracic echocardiogram
2. A stress echocardiogram
3. A contrast echocardiogram
4. A doppler echocardiogram
5. A transoesophageal echocardiogram
An Echocardiogram test usually takes around 20 to 30 minutes.
Heart Echo Scan, Heart Echo, Heart Ultrasound, Echo Scan.
An echocardiogram test is usually requested by a cardiologist or a patient’s primary physician. Commonly, an echo is conducted because the patient is experiencing symptoms. Any symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath and palpitations need to be investigated with an echocardiogram first before a doctor can make a diagnosis or recommend treatment. This is because the causes of these symptoms could be due to a number of reasons, including diseases of the pericardium, the heart muscle, and the valves.
There are several reasons why an echocardiogram test may be performed, including:
· To investigate symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, swelling in the legs, dizziness and fainting episodes.
· If something is detected during a physical examination, such as a heart murmur or irregular heartbeat.
· If a 24-hour electrocardiogram (ECG) test is abnormal.
· If the patient has a history of heart disease.
· To monitor an existing heart disease or other heart condition.
· To monitor congenital heart defects.
· To investigate how well medical treatments and interventions are working.
An echocardiogram is used to check the structure of a patient’s heart. It can analyse how the blood flows inside the heart and assess the functionality of the heart muscle. An echo also looks at the heart’s size. Echo scan can help to identify any abnormalities in the structure or function of a person’s heart. An echo is mainly utilised when diagnosing or monitoring particular heart conditions or diseases. An echocardiogram allows a cardiologist or other medical professional to investigate a variety of symptoms and conditions.
Echo tests are most commonly used to:
· Assess the overall function of a patient’s heart.
· Check for any problems with a patient’s valves or the chambers of their heart.
· Evaluate the size of the patient’s heart.
· Check for any damage following a heart attack
.· Detect or investigate heart failure.
· Detect or investigate congenital heart defects before and after birth.
· Identify different types of heart disease, including pericardial disease and valve disease.
· Detect or investigate infections, such as endocarditis or myocarditis.
· Investigate other heart conditions, such as cardiomyopathy.
· Investigate whether an aneurysm is at risk of rupturing.
· Investigate a cardiac tumour.
· Investigate any potential blood clots inside the heart chambers
We understand that having concerns about your heart health can be extremely worrying and stressful. In our cardiac clinic, we can, therefore, provide you with a same-day appointment with our expert cardiologist, Dr Lo Monaco, using state-of-the-art cardiac imaging technology. Dr Lo Monaco has a subspecialty in cardiac imaging and specialises in echocardiograms. He is specially trained in diagnosing and monitoring heart conditions and assessing the structure and function of your heart. Dr Lo Monaco will also analyse your heart scan and provide you with fast, accurate results.