Echocardiograms produce images of your heart through sound waves, allowing your doctor to view it pumping blood and beating. Your doctor can then use the images to catch symptoms of heart disease and could save your life by allowing early information. Generally, there are several types of echocardiograms and all of them pose little to no risks. If you are scheduled for or are considering an echocardiogram Upper East Side, here is a look at what you should expect from the procedure.
Why Are Echocardiograms Performed?
There are many reasons your doctor may order an echocardiogram. They may have discovered some worrying symptoms while listening to your heart through a stethoscope or noticed something unusual in your other test results. If you are experiencing signs of heart disease like shortness of breath or chest pain, your doctor may order an echocardiogram to rule out a heart attack. Echocardiograms also help your doctor inspect your heart chambers, valves, and pumping ability if you have an irregular heartbeat. The information from this procedure can provide insight into:
· Heart defects
· Problems with your heart valves
· Your heart’s pumping strength
· Possible damage to your heart muscles
· Any changes in the size of your heart
Preparing for Your Echocardiogram
You don’t need to make any special preparations for a standard transthoracic echocardiogram. You can usually take your regular medications and eat and drink what you normally do. However, for a transesophageal echocardiogram, your doctor may recommend you eat several hours before the procedure. You should also arrange for someone to drive you home as the medication will make it impossible for you to drive.
Echocardiograms can be done in a hospital or at your doctor’s office. If you are getting a standard transthoracic echocardiogram, you can expect the following:
- Your doctor or a technician will ask you to undress from the waist up and lie on the examination bed or table.
- They will attach electrodes to parts of your body to conduct and detect electric currents from your heart.
- They will apply gel to a transducer to improve sound wave conduction.
- Your doctor or technician will move the transducer across your chest to obtain sound-wave echo images from your heart.
- They may ask you to lie on your side or breathe a certain way.
On the other hand, if you are getting a transesophageal echo, your procedure will go more like this:
- A technician will apply a numbing gel or spray on your throat.
- They will give you a sedative to help you relax.
- Your doctor will guide a tube containing the transducer down your throat into your gullet. They will position it to take images of your heart
Your echocardiogram should not last longer than an hour. Patients who get a transesophageal echocardiogram may need to remain at the hospital for several hours for observation.
In most cases, you can go back to your normal activities after the procedure. Normal results mean you do not need to come in for further testing. However, if the results are worrying, your doctor may refer you to a cardiologist for more tests.
Echocardiograms can help diagnose cardiac conditions so you can get treatment before they progress into more serious complications. The team at Upper East Side Cardiology, led by Satjit Bhusri, MD, provided advanced and comprehensive cardiac care to help maintain your heart’s health. If you are experiencing worrying symptoms like chest pain, contact the New York City office to schedule your echocardiogram or discuss other cardiac treatments with Dr. Bhusri.