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Echo (Echocardiography/2D echo/Doppler Echo/Cardiac Echo)

What is it?
Echocardiography is a painless ultrasound test of your heart. It uses sound waves to reflect off your heart and create moving pictures of your heart in real time.

Transthoracic Echo is done at rest. It is non-invasive, safe and painless. Echocardiography does not involve any radiation.

What does it show?
  1. The size of your heart
  2. Heart muscles that are weak and aren’t pumping well (ventricular dysfunction).
  3. It can show whether your heart valves are opening and closing normally or if there is any leakage or narrowing (stenosis or regurgitation).
  4. It can detect problems with your heart structure like Congenital Heart Disease (structural problems present at birth).
  5. It can identify problems caused by infections such as Rheumatic heart disease or Infective endocarditis.
  6. It can detect blood clots/tumors or if there is any fluid surrounding your heart.
Who Does It?
A Cardiac Sonographer or a Cardiologist will usually perform this study. A cardiac sonographer is a person specially trained to do an echo. The procedure will take approximately 7-30 minutes, depending on the complexity.

While the test is painless, sometimes while giving pressure with the transducer, you may feel a little discomfort. The sonographer will apply some gel at a designated area around the chest, abdomen and the neck region and scan through a small device called a transducer.

Who needs it?

Your doctor may recommend an echo if you have signs or symptoms of heart problems, for example in heart failure which is a condition in which your heart can`t pump enough oxygen-rich blood to meet your body`s need; an echo can show how well your heart s pumping blood.

Echo can help your doctor to find the cause of abnormal heart sounds such as murmurs. Some heart murmurs are harmless, while others are signs of underlying heart problems.

Problems with the heart’s structure: Echo can detect congenital heart defects, such as holes in the heart or valve problems. Congenital heart defects are structural problems present at birth. Your doctor may advise an echo for your child to detect these heart defects.

Before any non-cardiac surgery or procedures; Eg, before chemotherapy to assess how well your heart is pumping.
Any risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes, hypertension, smoking, obesity, stressful lifestyle, lack of physical activities and those with a family history of cardiac illness may also be advised an echo.

Your Doctor may also advise echo to learn about:

  • The size of your heart
  • Heart muscles that are weak and are not pumping well
  • Heart valve problems such as valves that don`t open normally or close tightly which can lead to narrowing or leakage
  • If you’ve had a stroke then to rule out any blood clots/ tumors in your heart
  • If your heart could be affected due to infective endocarditis or Kawasaki disease.

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