An echocardiogram referred to in the medical community as a CARDIAC ECHO or simply an ECHO. This is a sonogram of the heart and uses standard ultrasound techniques to image two-demensional slices of the heart. In addition to creating two-dementional pictures of the heart an echocardiogram can also produce accurate pictures of the blood velocity using Doppler ultrasound. This allows assessment of cardiac valve areas and function, and abnormal communications between the left and right side of the heart, any leaking of blood through the valves, and calculation of heart function.
Echocardiography is used to diagnose cardiovascular disease. It produces a wealth of helpful information including the size and shape of the heart, its pumping capacity and the location and extent of any damage to its tissue. It can detect abnormalities in the pattern of blood flow through heart valves. This includes backward flow of blood through partly closed heart valves, known as regurgitation. By assessing the motion of the heart wall echocardiography can help determine whether any chest pain or associated symptoms are related to coronary artery disease. The biggest advantage to echocardiography is that it is noninvasive (doesn't involve breaking the skin or entering the body cavities) and has no known risk or side effects. This is a non-invasive and highly accurate and quick assessment of the overall health of the heart.
This is an alternative way to perform an echocardiogram. A specialized probe containing an ultrasound transducer at the tip is passed into the patient esophagus while the patient is sedated. This is known as transesophageal echocardiogram or (TEE). TEE is most often utilized when transthoracic images are suboptimal and when a more clear and precise image is needed for diagnosing disease. This technique is performed in the hospital with a cardiologist, anesthesiologist, registered nurse, and ultrasound technichian.