One of the first tests you might receive from a cardiologist at NYC Cardiology, Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates is an echocardiogram. It’s one of the most accurate and most common tests used to evaluate your heart function. The test is painless, non-invasive and risk-free. It relies on ultrasound technology to measure sound waves emitted from the beating of your heart.
These waves are transmitted in real time to a monitor that your doctor can see immediately. The test helps your doctor identify the health of your heart and/or the level of heart disease you may have. Clearly, the doctor can see your heart actually pumping blood through your blood vessels and see your heartbeats magnified on the monitor. And if you’re curious to see what your beating heart looks like you can ask the technician to give you a glimpse.
Echoes of Healing
The echocardiogram is ideal for detecting abnormalities in the structure, function, and valves of your heart, especially if you have symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath. It is so precise that it even can be used to identify congenital heart problems in an unborn child with what is referred to as a fetal echocardiogram.
Other facets of the soundwave technology to decipher heart disease include:
- Stress echocardiogram, used to evaluate for many conditions including coronary artery disease. our doctor can witness the activity of your heart through real-time images.
- Transesophageal echocardiogram gives an even clearer picture of your heart than the standard echocardiogram. For this procedure, your throat is numbed and a flexible tube is inserted into your throat and guided down your esophagus. A transducer is seated on the end of the tube and provides more detailed images to diagnose conditions such as structural or congenital heart disease, prior myocardial infarctions or dead heart tissue.
- Doppler echocardiogram measures the pitch of the soundwaves as they bounce off of cells that move through your blood vessels and heart. The changes in pitch, called Doppler signals, allow your physician to accurately monitor the direction and speed of blood flow in and out of your heart. An echocardiogram can be used to evaluate heart and valve function, to assess your risk for arrhythmia and to determine the degree and duration of hypertension.
The Measurement Baselines of Echocardiogram
When looking for signs of specific heart disease, the echocardiogram measures activity on a number of different levels that guide your physician to a firm diagnosis. Among the areas covered are:
- The size of your heart, because many heart diseases can lead to an enlarged heart. Weakened or damaged blood vessels can cause the walls of your heart to thicken and enlarge.
- The presence of heart defects such as visible problems with or abnormal connections between your heart chambers, or more complex defects you may have had since birth.
- Improperly functioning valves that your doctor can actually watch open and close in real time while monitoring the images as they appear during an echocardiogram.
- Your heart muscle’s pumping ability. Weakened muscles cannot support healthy pumping and the test can reveal which parts of your heart have been weakened, sometimes from a recent or prior heart attack.
- The pumping of blood in and out of your heart. The echocardiogram measures the amount of blood filling each ventricle as well as the volume of blood as it’s pumped out. Insufficient pumping that doesn’t meet your body’s needs is one of the contributing factors in heart failure.
Few Risks with Echoocardiogram Tests
There are virtually no risks involved with the standard transthoracic echocardiogram. The most discomfort you’ll feel is when the technician pulls the tape off that was used to hold the electrodes in place.
Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates
Dr. Michael Ghalchi, Cardiologist (Cardiologist NYC, Midtown)
New York, NY 10010
(Between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
☎ (212) 686-0066