Echocardiograms Questions & Answers
Bridgewater Primary Care & Cardiology offers echocardiogram services near you in West Bridgewater MA. For more information, call us or book an appointment online.
One of the most vital organs, the heart is responsible for circulating fresh and oxygenated blood throughout the body which allows cells to perform their functions properly. Because the heart performs such essential functions, it is important to stay on top of its health, which can be made easy through health screenings and lab services such as echocardiograms. An echocardiogram, sometimes shortened to echo, is an ultrasound of the heart that provides moving pictures and information about the function and structure of the heart.
What is an echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram uses ultrasound to create a graphic outline of the heart’s movement. During an echocardiogram, a handheld wand that emits high-frequency sound waves is placed on the chest to provide pictures of the heart’s valves and chambers. This helps the examiner, known as a sonographer, evaluate the pumping action of the heart. To evaluate blood flow across the heart’s valves, echocardiograms are often combined with Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler.
How is the echocardiogram performed?
During an echocardiogram, a sonographer spreads gel on a device known as a transducer. The gel helps to minimize friction between the skin and the transducer and also helps to transmit the ultrasound waves. The technician presses the transducer firmly against the patient’s skin, aiming a beam of ultrasound through the chest and to the heart. The transducer records the sound wave echoes from the heart, which is then converted into moving images on a computer monitor.
How does the echocardiogram work?
Echocardiograms provide a moving picture of the heart by using high-frequency sound waves (also called ultrasound). Using a handheld device called a transducer, the sound waves are sent through the body which bounce off of the heart and return to the transducer as echoes; this creates an image of the heart’s activity.
What are the benefits of an echocardiogram?
Echocardiography has many benefits, including:
- Checks for Diseases and Abnormalities — An echocardiogram provides doctors with all the information they need to determine if a patient has a serious heart problem. An echocardiogram can detect and follow the progression of heart disease and cardiac masses as well as assess heart function. It can help diagnose cardiac tumors, atherosclerosis, congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathy. In case they become moderate or severe, patients with heart valve issues that are still considered mild or minor need regular monitoring. If these issues are ignored, a heart attack, stroke, or clotting could occur.
- Little to No Risks — There are no risks involved with echocardiograms, unlike diagnostic procedures that make use of radiation to produce results. It is a noninvasive test, which means no incisions are made and no foreign objects are inserted into the body.
- Monitoring Safety and Effectiveness of Treatment — An echocardiogram is also used to monitor disease and effectiveness of treatment or surgery, including monitoring heart health following heart surgery that involves placing tubes in the arteries. Patients also benefit from regular monitoring with echocardiography if they have suffered heart failure.
To determine the health of your heart and detect a myriad of heart conditions, come to Bridgewater Primary Care & Cardiology for an echocardiogram! Our kind and compassionate professionals are experienced providers of echocardiography and can help you determine what is causing your heart problems. Call us today at (508) 469-4626 to book an appointment, or visit our clinic conveniently located at 711 W Center St, West Bridgewater, MA 02379. We look forward to serving you! We serve patients from West Bridgewater MA, Bridgewater MA, Taunton MA, Middleborough MA, Plymouth MA, Pembroke MA, Braintree MA, Mansfield MA, Stoughton MA, Brockton MA, Wareham MA, Somerset MA, Attleboro MA, Abington MA, and surrounding areas.