Having access to the latest echocardiogram technologies ensures a fast and accurate diagnosis of your heart problems. If you're suffering from chest pain or other cardiac symptoms, cardiovascular imaging specialist Henry Lucid, MD, at Heart and Vascular of Central Texas can help. At locations in Cedar Park, Round Rock, and Georgetown, Texas, Dr. Lucid and his team have outstanding on-site diagnostic facilities, including echocardiography. Call the office nearest you to find out more or schedule a consultation using the online booking tool today.
An echocardiogram (diagnostic cardiac ultrasound) is a moving image of the structures in your heart. It uses high-frequency sound waves to create these images, which your provider at Heart and Vascular of Central Texas then views on a screen in the treatment room.
A highly trained technician performs your echocardiogram using a probe called a transducer. The transducer emits sound waves that painlessly penetrate your skin and muscles to reach your heart. You can't hear the sound waves because they're too high of a pitch for human ears.
The sound waves hit your heart and bounce back to the transducer, which relays the information to the computer system. The computer's software translates the echoing sound waves to form images of the valves, chambers, and blood vessels in your heart.
Your provider at Heart and Vascular of Central Texas might request an echocardiogram to help diagnose a suspected heart condition. The images the echocardiogram produces contain valuable information such as the size and shape of your heart and how well it's pumping.
Your provider can see the thickness of your heart muscle walls, how healthy your heart's valves and lining are, and whether there are any abnormalities in your blood vessels. They can also identify holes between the chambers, blood clots, and tumors.
There are several types of echocardiogram, the most common being a transthoracic echocardiogram. This procedure is similar to having an abdominal ultrasound, where the transducer goes against the outside of your body.
Other forms of echocardiogram you might need include:
A transesophageal echocardiogram is a more invasive procedure in which the transducer goes down your esophagus until it's level with your heart. You might need this approach if anything is blocking transthoracic sound waves from reaching your heart, such as scar tissue or fat.
Stressing your heart by making it beat faster can provide information that's not apparent in a resting echocardiogram. A stress echocardiogram involves exercising on a treadmill if you're able to or taking medication that simulates the effect of exercise.
If you have any questions about the procedure or why you might need an echocardiogram, call Heart and Vascular of Central Texas today or book an appointment online.