More than 7 million echocardiograms are performed every year in the United States, helping doctors diagnose and manage heart disease and prevent its complications. Noninvasive and painless, echocardiograms (or simply “echoes”) provide highly-detailed images of your heart and its structure.
At TLC Medical Group Inc. in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Anthony B. Lewis MD, FACC, and his team use echocardiograms to manage heart issues in patients of all ages. Here’s how echocardiograms work and what they can tell us about your heart health.
Echocardiogram basics: What they are and how they work
An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound used specifically to evaluate heart health and manage heart treatments. Like other types of ultrasound, an echocardiogram relies on “echoes” from soundwaves to create detailed images of the target area — in this case, your heart.
Transthoracic echocardiograms (TTEs) use a handheld probe called a transducer to deliver ultrasound energy that’s painlessly absorbed through your skin. The transducer also captures those waves as they “echo” back toward your skin. The wave information is transmitted to the ultrasound machine, which “translates” the data into images Dr. Lewis uses to evaluate your heart, diagnose heart problems, and manage treatment.
Echocardiograms can be used on their own or in combination with exercise, a test commonly called an exercise stress test or an echo stress test. In some cases, we may recommend a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) that uses a special transducer designed to be placed in your esophagus, very close to your heart.
Echocardiograms and heart health
Echocardiograms provide a lot of detail about your heart’s structure and function, often avoiding the need for more invasive testing, like catheterization. With an echocardiogram, Dr. Lewis can evaluate the size of your heart, as well as the structure of the chambers, valves, and walls, helping them diagnose congenital defects, valve problems, and issues affecting the way the components of your heart perform and interact.
In addition, an echocardiogram can assess blood flow in and around your heart, determining how well your heart pumps and looking for signs of heart failure. The test can look for blood clots and unusual blood flow patterns like “regurgitation” — backward blood flow.
In addition to diagnosing heart problems, echocardiograms are used to assess heart damage after a heart attack or suspected heart attack and to monitor the effectiveness of treatment over time. Because they’re noninvasive, echocardiograms play a vital role in helping you maintain optimal heart health without the risks of surgery.
Make heart health a priority
Echocardiograms play a vital role in helping diagnose and manage heart issues. To learn what’s causing your heart-related symptoms or to find out about treatments that can help your heart stay healthy, call 772-200-3829 or request an appointment online with the team at TLC Medical Group today.