Echocardiography, commonly referred to as echocardiogram, is a diagnostic medical procedure for examining the heart. Echocardiography aids in monitoring or diagnosing certain heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation or congenital heart disease. Dr. Atif Sohail, the board-certified cardiologist at Heart & Sleep Clinics of America in Arlington, TX, performs echocardiography and can determine if you need one.
When is Echocardiography Needed?
An echocardiography test helps doctors measure the shape and size of the heart, as well as monitor blood flow through the valves and chambers. The procedure aids in the diagnosis of various heart-related conditions, including heart murmurs, heart infections, congenital heart disease, and atrial fibrillation. Echocardiography also allows cardiologists to examine the condition of the heart muscles after a heart attack.
A cardiologist can determine if echocardiography is needed based on factors such as current symptoms and medical history. Individuals who have suffered a heart attack or stroke are likely to need an echocardiogram. Patients with certain cardiovascular conditions, such as abnormal heart valves or pulmonary hypertension, are also more likely to need one.
The Echocardiogram Procedure
There are two methods for performing an echocardiography test, standard, and trans-thoracic echo. Both types are performed as out-patient procedures. Additionally, there is little to no recovery time following an echocardiogram so patients can return to their normal routine almost immediately.
Most patients at our heart clinic in Arlington, TX, undergo the standard echocardiography test, which is quicker and less invasive. A standard echocardiogram is painless. During the procedure, a chest probe is placed along the ribcage and upper abdomen for capturing sonogram images of the heart. In some cases, an IV injection of contrast liquid might be required to obtain better images.
A trans-thoracic echocardiogram test takes a bit longer and is a little more complicated. Patients can be placed under conscious sedation, if needed, to help them relax and remain comfortable throughout the procedure. To begin, the back of the throat is numbed and a probe is gently placed inside the esophagus. More in-depth imaging of the heart can be obtained through this type of test since the probe is positioned inside the body in close proximity to the heart.
Echocardiography provides invaluable information about the condition of the heart that can be used to develop tailored recommendations for improving cardiovascular health. For questions about echocardiography in Arlington, TX, schedule a consultation with Dr. Sohail by calling Heart & Sleep Clinics of America at (817) 419-7220.