About Echocardiography

An echocardiogram is an instrument that uses ultrasound waves in the body to produce images of the heart and to measure the direction and speed of blood flow. It is comprised of a transducer that turns electrical energy into sound waves. These bounce off the tissues in the heart and produce a recording either onto a videotape or computer for later analysis.

Your Long Island vascular doctor may order an echocardiography for a number of reasons. These include:

  • Detecting blocked coronary arteries
  • Diagnosing heart enlargement
  • Detecting heart defects that are present from birth
  • Detecting any damage from heart attacks
  • Detecting pericardial disease
  • Investigating the overall functioning of heart muscle
Echocardiography Echo

An echocardiography is performed by a trained sonographer as an outpatient procedure. The procedure lasts between 30-60 minutes. There are various types of echocardiography techniques available and your Long Island Cardiologist will determine which is the most suitable one for you. Depending upon the type of echocardiography you are undergoing, you will be given specific pre-test directions to follow.

  • Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE): This is the standard echocardiogram whereby a transducer is moved over your chest or abdominal wall to obtain different views of the heart. The output from a standard echocardiogram is a two-dimensional image of a cross section of the heart or a part of the heart.
  • Stress Echocardiogram: During a stress echocardiogram, the heart is stressed either physically or medically before an echocardiogram is performed.
  • Doppler echocardiogram: A Doppler echocardiogram provides your Long Island cardiologist with more information than a standard TTE. It measures the speed and direction of flow through the vessels and heart chambers.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE): With a TEE, the probe is passed down the esophagus rather than being moved across the outside of the chest wall. Since the probe is positioned closer to the heart, a clearer image is obtained. Furthermore, the lungs and the chest wall do not block the sound waves. A sedative or an anesthetic is applied to the throat during a TEE.

Echocardiography is a safe procedure, although patients undergoing a TEE may experience minor throat discomfort for a few days following the procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions – Echo Test West Babylon