Advanced Heart & Vascular Specialists
Cardiology & Vascular Specialists located in Las Vegas, NV
Experiencing shortness of breath, palpitations, or other signs of a heart problem? Echocardiography is a painless diagnostic study the experts at Advanced Heart & Vascular Specialists in Las Vegas often recommend as part of a cardiac evaluation. It uses sound waves to capture images of the inner workings of your heart and provide valuable insight into what might be causing your symptoms. Schedule your visit today by calling the office or booking an appointment online.
Echocardiography Q & A
What is echocardiography?
Often abbreviated to “echo,” echocardiography uses ultrasound technology to record images of your heart in motion. During an echo, sound waves pass through your chest and bounce (or echo) off the soft tissue structures of your heart. A computer translates these echoes into digital images that show the size of your heart and how well it’s functioning.
The sound waves produced during an echo are harmless. It’s essentially the same as an ultrasound taken during pregnancy to monitor the size and health of a developing baby.
What heart conditions can be detected with echocardiography?
An echo can pinpoint many potential problems with your heart, including:
- Areas of your heart muscle that aren’t pumping well due to poor blood flow or damage from a previous heart attack
- Whether blood is flowing normally through your heart valves
- Blood clots within your heart
- How well blood flows through your heart’s chambers
- Fluid buildup in the thin sac around your heart (pericardium)
- Problems with the aorta, which carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your body
- Defects or congenital issues with your heart’s structure, such as a “hole” in the heart
Is there more than one type of echo?
There are several types of echo studies available. Each type uses sound waves to capture images of your heart but varies slightly in the placement of the transducer and quality of the pictures. The transducer is a wand-like, handheld device that emits sound waves during the study.
Echo types include:
- Transthoracic echocardiography: The most common type performed, during which the transducer is placed on top of your chest and moved throughout the region that corresponds with your heart’s location
- Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE): Used when more detailed images are required and accomplished by dropping a small transducer attached to a flexible tube down your throat and into the esophagus
- 3D echocardiography: Captures very detailed, three-dimensional images of your heart and may be used during a transthoracic echo or during a TEE
Schedule a visit at Advanced Heart & Vascular Specialists for all of your cardiac care. Call the office or book your appointment online.