The importance of the echocardiogram for the detection of heart diseases
Are you looking for a team of experts in echocardiogram in Puerto Vallarta? At CMQ Hospitals we have a team of cardiologists highly qualified in performing and interpreting echocardiograms. Learn more about our services here.
An echocardiogram is an essential tool in the diagnosis and evaluation of various heart diseases. As is known, heart disease often shows no obvious symptoms in its early stages. Therefore, it is essential to consult with a group of experts to ensure an accurate diagnosis. A heart echocardiogram provides real-time images that allow experts to evaluate heart function and detect problems early. This study can detect valvular diseases, cardiomyopathies, congenital heart defects, and clots, among others.
Our Echocardiogram and Cardiac Ultrasound Specialists
Meet our team of echocardiography experts in Puerto Vallarta:
Echocardiogram and Cardiac Ultrasound Equipment Available at CMQ Hospital
Our hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment that enables us to perform high-resolution echocardiograms. We also offer a variety of approaches to this study, such as transthoracic echocardiography. In addition, our experts perform special studies such as stress and transesophageal echocardiograms, which require special preparation.
What is an echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram is a noninvasive medical test that uses ultrasound technology to create images of the heart and its structures. Experts can examine the valves, heart chambers, walls, arteries, and vessels of the heart. It is an essential tool for evaluating the anatomy and function of the heart. Similarly, it can detect and diagnose a wide variety of heart diseases. Furthermore, according to our specialist Dr. Molina, the echocardiogram is a completely safe study that does not use radiation and has no side effects.
Echocardiogram Procedure: How is an echocardiogram done
An echocardiogram is a relatively simple medical procedure performed in the doctor’s office. Below, our experts in echocardiography in Puerto Vallarta describe the general steps of this procedure.
Steps of an echocardiogram
- Patient Preparation: Before the echocardiogram, no special prep is required. You may eat and drink normally before the procedure. Our experts will ask you to change into a hospital gown for easy access to your chest.
- Proper placement: Typically, you will lie on your back on an examination table. Then, electrodes will be placed on your chest to monitor the electrical activity of your heart. This is not painful.
- Gel application: Our experts will apply a conductive gel on your skin where the echocardiogram will be carried out. This gel helps to generate the ultrasound waves and obtain high-quality images.
- The transducer: Uso del transductor: A device called a transducer is utilized while performing an echo. This device is moved gently over the skin in different areas of the chest and placed at specific points to obtain different views of the heart.
- Imaging: As the transducer glides over your skin, it emits high-frequency waves that bounce off the structures of the heart. A monitor processes these waves and converts them into images.
- Real-time evaluation: While the images are being obtained, the physician evaluates the anatomy and function of the heart. In addition, precise measurements are made of blood flow, and heart valves, among others.
- Medical evaluation and report: With the images and data collected, our experts make a diagnosis, and if necessary, plan a treatment.
It is worth mentioning that an echocardiogram is a safe and painless procedure that provides valuable information about your heart’s health. In general, it lasts approximately 30 minutes to an hour. However, this depends on the number of images needed and the complexity of the medical situation.
Normal echocardiogram results
Typical results of an echocardiogram indicate that the anatomy and function of the heart are within parameters considered healthy and no abnormalities have been detected.
Abnormal echocardiogram results
Abnormal results of an echocardiogram indicate that certain anomalies in the anatomy or function of the heart have been identified. These abnormalities can vary in severity and may require additional medical treatment or follow-up. Some of the possible abnormalities that may be found on an echocardiogram include:
- Ventricular dysfunction
- Valve diseases such as stenosis
- Congenital heart defects
- Blood clots
- Coronary artery problems
- Heart tumors
- Structural abnormalities
- Myocardial diseases
It is worth noting that an abnormal result on an echocardiogram does not always mean that you have a serious heart disease. Our experts point out that further tests and evaluations are necessary to determine the exact cause of the irregularities. Subsequently, an appropriate treatment plan is established.
Types of Echocardiograms
This is the most common type of echocardiogram. It is performed by placing a transducer on the patient’s chest. It is a non-invasive test used to obtain images of the heart through the chest wall.
In this type of echocardiogram, a transducer is inserted into the patient’s throat through the esophagus. It allows for a more detailed and clearer image to evaluate the heart valves or the aorta.
Also known as exercise echocardiography. It is performed while the patient exercises on an electric treadmill or bicycle. This test evaluates the heart’s response to physical stress and can reveal heart problems that are not evident at rest.
In contrast to the exercise echocardiogram, this study is performed with the patient at rest. Subsequently, a drug that induces cardiac stress is administered. It is useful for evaluating cardiac function in patients who are unable to do physical activity.
The Doppler echocardiogram is used to measure the speed and direction of blood flow through the heart and blood vessels. It is essential for assessing valve function, detecting blockages and evaluating blood flow in the heart.
It is used to evaluate the cardiac health of a developing fetus during pregnancy. This study provides information about the structure and cardiac function of the fetus.
Echocardiogram with dobutamine
In this type of echocardiogram, a drug called dobutamine is used to stimulate the heart. Cardiac function is evaluated in patients who are unable to exercise. It is especially useful for diagnosing coronary heart disease.
How to prepare for an echocardiogram?
Preparation for an echocardiogram is generally easy. However, the exact preparation may vary depending on the type of echocardiogram you are having and your physician’s specific instructions. In most cases, fasting is not necessary. You can eat and drink normally. However, if you are having a transesophageal echocardiogram, you may need to fast for at least 6 hours before the procedure.
Also, we recommend that you inform your physician about all the medications you are taking. Your medication may need to be adjusted prior to the echocardiogram. In addition, you may need to remove metal objects before the exam, as they may interfere with the functioning of the ultrasound. Similarly, avoid applying creams or lotions the day of the exam as this may interfere with the placement of the conducting gel. If you have questions or concerns about the procedure, do not hesitate to ask your physician.
Echocardiogram vs. EKG, what are the differences and similarities?
The electrocardiogram (EKG) and echocardiogram are two medical tests used to assess the health of the heart. However, they differ in how they provide information and in their applications. The EKG focuses on the electrical activity of the heart and is useful for assessing heart rhythm. It is a quick and simple procedure performed in our CMQ Hospital emergency areas. While echocardiogram uses ultrasound to obtain detailed images of the heart’s structure and function. These tests are often used in a complementary manner to provide a complete evaluation. Some of the similarities between the two studies are:
- Heart Evaluation: Both the EKG and echocardiogram are used to evaluate the health of the heart and are part of a routine cardiology checkup.
- Noninvasive: Both are noninvasive procedures, meaning they do not require surgery or invasive actions on the body.
- Diagnostic Tools: Both tests are important tools in the evaluation and diagnosis of heart disease.
Frequently Asked Questions about Echocardiogram
The procedure for an echocardiogram is the same for both men and women. A transducer (a handheld device) is placed on the chest, usually in the area where the ribs are, and it is gently moved to obtain images of the heart. The preparation and procedure are generally the same regardless of gender.
The duration of an echocardiogram can vary, but it typically takes between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the number of images needed and the complexity of the examination.
An echocardiogram shows detailed images of the heart, including its chambers, valves, and blood flow patterns. It provides information about the structure and function of the heart, such as the size of the heart chambers, the thickness of the heart walls, how well the heart pumps blood, and any abnormalities in the heart’s anatomy or function. It is valuable for diagnosing and monitoring various heart conditions.
An EKG (electrocardiogram) and an echocardiogram are two different tests used to assess heart health. The EKG records the electrical activity of the heart and is primarily used to monitor the heart’s rhythm and detect electrical abnormalities. An echocardiogram uses ultrasound to create real-time images of the heart’s structure and function, providing information about the physical aspects of the heart. It is more focused on the anatomy and mechanics of the heart.
Generally, fasting is not required for a standard transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE). You can typically eat and drink normally before the procedure. However, for a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE), you may be instructed to fast for at least 6 hours before the test, as it involves inserting a probe through the esophagus.