What is an echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram, or echo, is a diagnostic study that uses sound waves to help visualize the structures and function of the heart. Also known as a cardiac ultrasound, it takes pictures of the heart’s walls, chambers, and blood vessels.
Your doctor may order this test if you have:
- Shortness of breath
- Recurrent chest pain
- High blood pressure
- Symptoms of a congenital heart defect
- Symptoms of heart valve problems
- A history of heart problems
During the test, you’re lying comfortably on your left side, and have EKG wires attached to your chest. This is so that your heart rhythm can be monitored during your echo. The technician uses a smooth-ended wand pressed firmly against your chest to gather information about your heart health.
This test is not painful, has no risks, and is performed by a highly qualified technician in the comfort of the Cullman Internal Medicine office.
What kind of information is collected by an echocardiogram?
Valuable information is collected during an echocardiogram that can help diagnose congestive heart failure (CHF), leaky valves, heart defects, blood clots, and damage done by high blood pressure.
Specific findings of an echo include:
- Size and shape of the heart
- Thickness and movement of the heart muscle
- Heart valve motion and strength
- Flow of blood through the heart
- Structure of the heart
An echo can also identify any growths in or on the heart, and any infection or fluid in the lining of the heart. An echo can be a valuable diagnostic tool that helps to ensure your ongoing cardiac health.
What other services are offered to benefit heart health?
A Coumadin® clinic is available for patients taking this blood thinner, so their blood levels of the medication can be monitored and they can be given any other medical assistance, as needed.
Other studies offered by Cullman Internal Medicine that support your heart health include:
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Cardiac nuclear medicine scan
- Holter heart monitoring
- Cardiac event monitoring
- Cardiac treadmill stress testing
- Vascular studies
These tests help to make sure that your heart is as healthy as possible and to make sure that your ongoing treatments are safe and effective.
Your heart health is essential for keeping you healthy in the long run. Your medical team at Cullman Internal Medicine is committed to providing you with all the tools you need to keep your heart healthy.
If you need to schedule an echocardiogram or other cardiac testing, call the office or book an appointment online today.