Echo Cardiography (Echo)

The echocardiogram is an extremely useful test for studying the heart’s anatomy. It is non-invasive and entirely safe, and when interpreted by well-trained cardiologists, is very accurate. Our highly skilled team of physicians and technicians combines years of experience in diagnostics and patient care to conduct examinations such as the echocardiogram with ease.

An echocardiogram often referred to in the medical community as a cardiac ECHO or simply an ECHO, is a sonogram of the heart. Also known as a cardiac ultrasound, it uses standard ultrasound techniques to image two-dimensional slices of the heart. The latest ultrasound systems now employ 3D real-time imaging. In addition to creating two-dimensional pictures of the cardiovascular system, an echocardiogram can also produce accurate assessment of the velocity of blood and cardiac tissue at any arbitrary point using pulsed or continuous wave Doppler ultrasound. This allows assessment of cardiac valve areas and function, any abnormal communications between the left and right side of the heart, any leaking of blood through the valves and calculation of the cardiac output as well as the ejection fraction.

Echo Cardiography (Echo) Available at following locations:

  • Atulaya Healthcare, Chandigarh
  • Atulaya Healthcare, Muktsar

FAQs

The echocardiogram is a simple test. You will lie on an examination table, and a technician will hold a transducer (a device that resembles a computer mouse) against your chest, slowly sliding it back and forth. (The technician will apply a Vaseline-like gel to your chest to aid in sliding the transducer.) You may be asked to roll on your side during the test, or hold your breath for a few seconds. The test takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete.

The transducer that’s placed on your chest sends sound waves toward the heart. Like the sonar on a submarine, the sound waves bounce off the heart, and are collected by the transducer. These returning sound waves are processed by a computer, assembled into a two-dimensional image of the beating heart, and displayed on a TV screen (which you will be able to see if you wish). By aiming the transducer, the technician will be able to image most of the important cardiac structures.

Echocardiograms are sometimes used in conjunction with stress tests. An echo test is made at rest, and then is repeated during exercise, to look for changes in the function of the heart muscle when exercise is performed. Deterioration in muscle function during exercise can indicate coronary artery disease. A special microphone (called a Doppler microphone) can be used during the test to measure the velocity of blood flow in the heart. This information can be useful in assessing heart valve function.

A transesophageal echocardiogram can create images of cardiac structures that are difficult to see from a standard echo test, and also offers a way to produce echo images during heart surgery when access to the chest itself is not available to the echocardiographer.

Echocardiography is widely used for diagnosis and management of most heart diseases. It provides information about structural changes in the heart, presence of any birth defects, adequacy of contraction of heart muscle, functional and structural integrity of heart valves, size of various chambers of the heart, velocity of blood flow in the major blood vessels and abnormalities in the pericardium which is the covering of the heart.

The echo does not image the coronary arteries, and is not useful for detecting coronary artery disease. Various physical variations (a thick chest wall, for instance, or emphysema) may limit the ability to image cardiac structures. These physical variations, however, can be overcome by performing a transesophageal echo test.