An echocardiogram also called an echo, is a test that uses ultrasound to show your heart structure and its functioning. The sound waves create moving images of your heart, so your specialist can see its size and shape. An echocardiogram can show heart valves and chambers and blood flow. Your doctor can use an echocardiogram to look for heart and valve disease or monitor whether specific treatments are working. It can also show heart defects or irregularities in your unborn child. An echocardiogram Upper East Side does not involve radiation; hence safe for unborn babies. The test is painless. There are various types of echocardiograms depending on what your doctor needs to check. These tests include:

Transthoracic echocardiogram

A transthoracic echocardiogram does not require any preparation. Your specialist will tell you to take off your clothes from the waist up and put on the hospital gown. You will lie on an exam table on your left side. The specialist will place three electrodes attached to an electrocardiograph monitor on your chest to track your heart’s electrical activity. Your provider will run a sound-wave transducer across different areas of your chest. The transducer contains a small amount of gel on the end to help produce clearer images.

Changes in the sound waves, known as Doppler signals, can show your heart’s blood speed and direction. Your specialist may ask to change positions to take images of different regions of your heart. The provider can ask you to hold your breath. This test takes about forty minutes, and you can resume your routine immediately after the procedure.

Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)

Transesophageal echocardiogram involves your technician sticking electrocardiograph (EKG) electrodes on your chest. You will be given a sedative to help you relax during the procedure. The specialist puts the transducer in your mouth, down your throat into your esophagus. The provider can get detailed images because the transducer is closer to your heart.

During the procedure, your provider monitors your blood pressure and vital signs. The test takes ten to thirty minutes. After taking your heart pictures, your provider will take out the probe. A nurse will monitor you for about thirty minutes after the test. The sedative can make you drowsy, so ensure you have someone to drive you home. Do not eat or take anything until the sedative wears off.

Stress echocardiogram

Your specialist will first perform a transthoracic echocardiogram. A stress echocardiogram involves the specialist sticking EKG electrodes on your chest. You will then exercise on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. The technician will check the motion of your heart’s walls and pumping action, blood pressure, and blood flow in your heart while exercising. You will continue exercising until your body cannot do it anymore.

After the procedure, you will work out slowly to cool down. The provider will monitor your vital signs till they get back to normal. The entire process takes about sixty minutes, but the tests take around fifteen minutes. 

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound test that shows your heart structure and how it works. Doctors use it to check for heart and valve disease and monitor how specific treatments work. Schedule an appointment at Upper East Side Cardiology for an echocardiogram to monitor the functioning of your heart.