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What is an Echocardiogram?
An Echocardiogram or an Echo is an ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The transducer picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of the heart and converts it into images on a computer.
An echo study gives the cardiologist information about different parts of your heart using three different techniques: The M-mode which measures the size of the heart chambers and the thickness of the heart walls. The two-dimensional echo shows the heart wall motion. And third the Doppler echo assesses the direction and velocity of the blood flow through the heart chambers and valves.
Why is an echo done?
An Echo is done to determine the presence of heart disease such as myocardial disease, stenosis, regurgitation, Mitral Valve Prolapse, abnormal heart murmurs, infective endocarditis and congenital heart disease.
How long does the test take?
A normal study without any complications can take about 15- 20 minutes. However, if the technician detects stenosis or other abnormalities then it may take a little longer.
What are the risks?
Echocardiogram is completely safe with no risk factors.
When will I get my results?
You will be given an appointment to see the doctor within 1-2 weeks for your results. If during your test the technician sees anything grossly abnormal or alarming then the doctor will be consulted right away.
Depending on the results of your exam, your doctor will determine a treatment plan for you.
How do I prepare for the test?
The test does not require any special preparation.
As the name suggests, a Stress Echocardiogram is a combination of an ultrasound Echocardiogram or Echo and a regular Treadmill Stress Test.
An initial baseline Echocardiogram is performed to assess the heart at rest, after which the patient is prepped for a Stress Test. Immediately following the Stress Test the Echo is repeated to obtain post-stress pictures, ideally within 1 minute of stopping exercise.
Often a Stress Echocardiogram is done to evaluate the heart’s valve function or presence of Coronary Artery Disease.