Echocardiogram (ECHO) in Montgomery, AL
An echocardiogram, often called an ECHO for short, is a test that uses ultrasound technology to create a moving picture of your heart. ECHOs are not painful, and use a smooth wand that touches the skin to send sound waves to the heart and back to the computer to create an image.
It is the same technology doctors use to monitor babies before they are born. An ECHO may be used with other heart tests like a stress test or an EKG to check the health and function of your heart.
ECHOs are safe, effective procedures. Find out more about echocardiograms by calling (334) 781-7319 or contact Dr. Ryan McWhorter online.
Types of ECHO Testing
There are four types of ECHO tests. Your medical team will decide which one is right for you.
- Transthoracic ECHO: This is the most common type of ECHO, and uses the ultrasound wand to check the outside of the heart. The wand may be moved over your chest or down near your ribs to get a clear picture of the heart muscle itself or other structures around it.
- Stress ECHO: During a stress ECHO, you will be given medication through an IV that simulates stress or exercise. Your heart will beat harder and faster for a short time and your doctor will use the ECHO to see how your heart handles the work. This test can show if you have too little blood flowing to your heart and find some types of heart disease.
- Doppler ECHO: A Doppler ECHO shows how blood flows through the inside of your heart. The ultrasound wand on your chest can detect the flow of blood through the chambers, valves and blood vessels and send this information back to the machine. This information can be used to identify any leaks or pumping problems in your heart.
- Transesophageal ECHO: To get very clear images of your heart, sometimes an ECHO will need to get closer to the muscle. To do this, you will take medication to make you relax, then a special ECHO tool through is passed through your mouth and into your esophagus-the tube that carries food to your stomach-so the heart can be seen more closely. Because there are no bones or lungs blocking the sound waves from reaching the heart, this test shows the clearest, most detailed images.
Preparing for an ECHO
For most ECHOs, you will not need to do anything special. If you are having a transesophageal ECHO you will not be able to eat for a few hours before the test, and will not be able to drive until the sedation wears off, so bring a friend for family member to drive you home.
Echocardiograms are effective tools for viewing a variety of physical or structural problems with the heart and can help doctors identify blood clots, guide surgical procedures, and even find infections of the heart muscle.
Schedule your ECHO Today
You may be considering an ECHO to check the health of your heart. If you have questions, find out more by calling (334) 781-7319 or contact Dr. Ryan McWhorter online.
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