The heart is a vital organ. It is made up of four valves and four chambers. In order for the heart to circulate blood throughout the body the right way, it needs to be working perfectly. One way of monitoring the heart and whether it functions properly is with an echocardiogram.
What is an Echocardiogram?
If you’re a woman and have ever had a child, you probably know what an ultrasound is. An ultrasound instrument uses highly repetitive sound waves to get a look at the areas of the body the ultrasound device is placed on. An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound procedure that is used to monitor the four chambers and four valves of the heart to determine if they are working properly and if blood is being distributed throughout the body as it should.
Electrocardiograms are the most common way of evaluating the health of the heart. Electrodes are used for the procedure. They are arranged on a patient’s chest surface at key locations so they can pick up on various aspects of the functions of the heart, including blood pressure, heart rhythms and heart rate.
A special gel will be rubbed over the patient’s body so that an instrument called a transducer can be passed over the chest. This special gel helps the transducer to pick up on vibrations much easier than if it was not used.
During the procedure, the technician or doctor doing the echocardiogram will pass the transducer over the patient’s chest. He or she will monitor the motions of the heart from a video screen specially designed for this purpose. The technician or doctor will assess the functions of the heart using the images on the video screen.
Why an Echocardiogram Might be Necessary
Echocardiograms are often performed on patients after they have recovered from a heart attack. This is especially true if they have had surgery after the heart attack. The idea is to check if the operation was successful and if further treatment is necessary.
Our medical professionals might order an echocardiogram to be performed if they notice irregular heart rhythms after listening to the heart. There are also other ways our team might notice abnormalities in the heart. We might conduct an echocardiogram if a patient shows signs of a heart problem. These include shortness of breath and chest pains. These are symptoms that should be taken very seriously, even if you are not in a hospital setting.
There are various occasions when it is a good idea for a patient to get an echocardiogram. Our team at Cardiology Consultants of Southwest Florida will make sure to let you know during your consultation in Fort Myers whether or not this test will be necessary. Contact us today to book an appointment!