What is an ECHO ?
Doctors often combine echo with Color Doppler and Doppler Ultrasound techniques to check blood flow across the valves of the heart.
Echocardiography uses no radiation. This makes an echo test different from other tests, such as X-rays and CT scans that use small amounts of radiation.
Why is an ECHO test done?
Which are the tests performed under an ECHO?
1. Transthoracic echocardiogram.
2. Exercise stress echocardiogram.
1. Transesophageal echocardiogram.
What techniques are used in echocardiography?
- Two-dimensional (2D) ultrasound : This approach is used often. It produces 2D images that appear in the form of “slices” on the computer screen. Traditionally, these slices can be “stacked” to build a 3D structure.
- Three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound : Advances in technology have made 3D imaging efficient. New 3D techniques show different aspects of the heart, including how well it can pump blood with great accuracy. Three-dimensional view also enables your sonographer to view parts of your heart from different angles.
- Doppler ultrasound : This technique shows how fast the blood flows and also in which direction it goes.
- Color Doppler Ultrasound : This technique also depicts your blood flow, but uses a number of colors to differentiate the direction of blood flow.
- Contrast imaging : Your doctor injects a substance called a contrast agent into one of the veins. The substance is visible in the test images and can show details of the heart. Some people experience an allergic reaction to this contrast agent, but usually, reactions are mild.
- Strain imaging : This approach shows changes in how the muscles of the heart move. It can show the early signs of heart diseases.
When would you require an echocardiogram?
- You are showing some symptoms of heart disease. Your doctor will suggest an echo diagnose the problem and learn more about it.
- Your healthcare provider wants to check on the condition you have already been diagnosed with. For example, some people with valve disease require echo tests regularly.
- You’re preparing for surgery or a procedure.
- Your doctor wants to check the outcome of a surgery or procedure.
What should you avoid doing before an echo test?
- Drinking or eating
- Using any nicotine products or smoking.
- Drinking coffee or taking any medication that has caffeine in it.