What You Should Know About An Echocardiogram

If you have a sudden onset of heart issues or feel like you are experiencing scary symptoms that could indicate a problem with your heart, an echocardiogram is a quick way to check for problems. An echocardiogram technician checks the heart structures and how they are working. Here are some things you need to know about an echocardiogram:

What Does an Echocardiogram Look For?

There are several areas an echocardiogram will display to verify whether the heart is healthy. Some examples of heart issues found through an echocardiogram include blood clots, inflammation, damage to the heart muscle, blockages in the blood vessels, the size of the heart chambers, and the thickness of the heart muscle. The echocardiogram will look at the heart as it contracts to check the opening and closing of the heart valves.

How Does an Echocardiogram Work?

An echocardiogram is fairly easy and straightforward. The technician will use a transducer. The transducer will send sound waves through the surface of the skin and to the heart. The sound waves will produce images that the doctor can see to determine if you have any type of heart issue.

How Do You Prepare for an Echocardiogram?

You do not need to do anything special at home to prepare for an echocardiogram. You can eat, drink, or take medication if you need to. You will have an appointment at a hospital, clinic, or heart health center. Once you arrive and go to an exam room, you will remove your shirt and put on a hospital gown. You will lie down on a table. Just before the procedure, the technician will place some gel on your chest to help the transducer glide more easily and induce a connection for the sound waves to properly generate.

What Happens During an Echocardiogram?

Once you are all prepared, the procedure will get started. The lights will be turned off to make it easier to see the images on the monitor. The technician will then place the transducer on your chest and begin moving it around. You may be asked to change positions to get different images of the heart and its chambers. Your technician may have to press harder occasionally to get the images they need, so you might feel some pressure. You otherwise should never have any pain during an echocardiogram.

An echocardiogram is a strong indicative test to catch the first signs of a heart problem. If you are experiencing anything that you think might be an issue for you, ask your doctor right away to have an echocardiogram scheduled.