A cardiologist performs a number of non-invasive procedures in order to
establish a comprehensive
diagnostic profile on the nature and severity of a patient’s heart condition. One of
the tools he or she uses is an echocardiogram. Find out what an echocardiogram
is and how it can help in diagnosing a heart condition below:
What can an echocardiogram do?
echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to produce an image of a patient’s
heart in motion. This not only produces images of the heart chambers and
valves, but can also depict the size of the heart and how large the various
chambers are in relation to each other. An echocardiogram can also determine
the thickness of the muscular walls and how well the heart muscle is functioning.
In addition, an echocardiogram can be used to determine:
- How well the heart valves open and close during each contraction and relaxation
of the heart chambers
- The uniformity of movement of the heart muscle during each contraction/relaxation cycle
- An estimate of the blood pressure within the lungs
How is an echocardiogram performed?
An echocardiogram is performed by placing a transducer over the heart
to emit waves of sound that are reflected back in an echo. The transducer
is coated in a gel before being placed on the skin to help facilitate
the transmission of the sound waves through the skin and chest wall. During
the test, electrodes are also placed on the chest in order to monitor
the patient’s heart beat. As the transducer moves over the chest
in a systematic sequence, the sound waves bounce back as echoes which
are translated into visual images by a computerized video monitor, creating
a permanent record of the motions of the heart.
The physicians and nurses with
Regional Medical Center of San Jose use only the most advanced technological devices to help diagnose and
treat patients. Learn more about our cardiovascular services by contacting
us at (408) 259-4000 today.