Echocardiography ( Τριπλεξ Καρδιας ) requires for detecting heart problems like damages in the cardiac tissue, blood clots in the heart, stiffening of the heart muscles, enlargement of the chamber, and so on. According to a cardiologist in Athens Dr. Ilham Kaffa, echocardiography uses cardiac ultrasound for taking a picture of the heart in a non-invasive method. This procedure requires when a doctor wants to examine the health of a heart after a person experiences a stroke or heart attack.
Different kinds of echocardiograms are available for detecting different problems of the heart.
The most common is the transthoracic echocardiogram. An ultrasound wand is placed outside the chest and it sends sound waves to the heart. Gel needs to apply to the chest for the sound waves to travel better. The waves bounce off and help to take pictures of the heart.
The transesophageal echocardiogram uses a thin transducer that is attached to the end of a tube. The patient swallows the tube for inserting into the esophagus.
This test provides in-depth pictures of the heart as compared to the conventional transthoracic echocardiogram. One gets a close-up view of the heart and cardiologists can understand better the condition of the patient’s heart.
Doppler ultrasounds are used by doctors for checking blood flow. Sound waves are generated at a certain frequency. How the sound waves bounce back to the transducer is calculated. Blood that flows in the direction of the transducer is red. The blood that moves away from the transducer is blue.
Doppler Ultrasounds helps to reveal problems with valves or holes in the heart walls. It also shows how the blood is traveling through the heart.
The three-dimensional echocardiogram helps in generating 3D pictures of the heart.
This kind of echocardiogram need to find out the following problems:
- Checking the heart’s function in 3D
- Taking pictures of complex heart structures
- Planning for interventional structural surgery or heart valve surgery
- Diagnosing the cardiac problems in infants and younger children
- Checking the functionality of the valves with heart failure patients
The stress echocardiogram requires as a part of a stress test. It consists of jogging or walking on a treadmill. The blood pressure, heart rate, and electrical activity of the heart need to measure during this echocardiogram. The sonographer usually conducts a transthoracic echocardiogram either before or after the exercise.
Moreover, with the help of this echocardiogram, the cardiologists can understand coronary heart disease, heart failure, problems with the valves of the heart, and ischemic heart disease.
A fetal echocardiogram requires for checking the heart of an unborn child. This test requires during 18-22 weeks of pregnancy. Echocardiograms do not use radiation for taking pictures of the heart and hence it is not harmful either for the mother or for the unborn child.
Moreover, doctors usually ask patients to get an echocardiogram report when they find the following symptoms.
- Swelling of the legs of the patient
- Shortness of breath
- Heart murmurs
- Blood pressure abnormalities
- Irregular heartbeats
Echocardiograms, according to Dr. Ilham Kaffa ( Καρδιολόγος στην Αθήνα), are a safe procedure for checking the condition of the heart. It does not use radiation, and hence there is no damage caused to the patient undergoing the test.
Moreover, Echocardiogram has nil or very low complications. Some patients might feel discomfort while some others might develop allergies due to the contrast material or anesthetic used during the test. Other than this, echocardiograms are a safe procedure for checking the condition of the heart.