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What to Know About Echocardiograms

What to Know About Echocardiograms

Buckeye Heart & Vascular Institute is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of our patients, and that includes educating them on important procedures like echocardiograms. Cardiovascular procedures can be scary if you’re not familiar with them, so take some time to learn about why your doctor prescribes an echocardiogram and what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.

What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram, also referred to as an echo, is a diagnostic cardiac test that uses sound waves to create live imaging of your heart. You may think of it as a cardiac ultrasound. Sound waves create pictures of the heart chamber, valves, and blood vessels attached to the heart. This test takes approximately an hour and allows your doctor to develop the most appropriate treatment plan to address your cardiac condition.

Why is an echocardiogram performed?

The echo measures how well your heart functions, as well as the overall structure of your heart. An echocardiogram shows your doctor what the heart looks like, as well as helping your doctor:

  • Measure the pumping efficiency of the heart
  • Check the size, thickness, and movement of the heart
  • Determine if heart valves and chambers are working properly
  • Identify abnormal growths such as tumors, holes, masses, or blood clots
  • Identify issues with blood vessels in or around the heart

What to Expect During An Echocardiogram

Echocardiograms are minimally-invasive. During the procedure, a highly trained technician places small electrodes on your chest, which are connected to the electrocardiograph machine. Next, the technician will apply gel to your chest and gently pass a probe across the chest. This is the probe that creates the sound waves which produce pictures of the heart. Once completed, your doctor will interpret the results and determine the best course of action.

Cardiovascular Diagnostic Testing in Dayton, OH

Do you have concerns about your cardiovascular health? Call Buckeye Heart & Vascular at (937) 203-8602. You can also schedule an appointment with our professionals online here.