Echocardiography is a very precise method to detect the hearts movement and shape. It is a non-invasive technique that uses sonar to study the motion and appearance of the valves. The patient is asked to lie down and remove clothing from the waist up. A sheet of paper or cloth is used to cover the patient. Electrodes will then be placed on the patients body. The patient might be asked to breathe in a certain way or be asked to lie on ones side to best help the test be performed successfully. A gel is applied to the chest followed by a transducer i.e. a machine that sends and receives sound which is placed on the body over the heart and measures distance to produce the visual representation of the heart on a monitor. How the visuals appear in a 2d echo test and a 3d echo test will depend on the machine used. Though only a trained sonographer is required to perform the test, a cardiologist will best interpret the results.
The test is performed for a variety of reasons:
- To detect abnormal heart valves i.e. the atria and the ventricles which are concerned with the distribution of blood.
- To detect abnormal heart rhythms like tachycardia i.e. rapid increase in beating of the heart to brachycardia i.e. rapid decrease in beating of the heart
- To check for any congenital heart disease
- To observe for any damage that the heart might have taken after a heart attack
- To look for inflammation of the heart also known as pericarditis or for any fluid that might have gathered in the sac around the heart.
- To look for heart murmurs.
- To observe the heart in greater detail.
This kind of test is perfectly safe and should be performed in an environment with a trained sonographer present. Patients are advised to speak to their cardiologist before taking any medication or changing their routine. There are no special preparations a patient needs to take for this test but diabetic patients should always consult their doctor who must be kept well informed before undergoing echocardiography or altering existing medication dosage. It is recommended for any people who might be feeling abnormal pain in the heart or chest are