Echocardiography is also known as Echo, Cardiac Ultrasound, and Doppler ultrasound of the heart, Cardiac Ultrasonography, 2D echo test and 3d echo test. It is a test that used to provide an image of the heart using sound waves. It can be used in concurrence with a stress test to show the heart as it beats while the patient is exercising.2D Echo – 300×150
Echocardiography is a very exact 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 eliminate clothing from the waist up. A sheet of paper or cloth is used to cover the patient. Electrodes will then be placed on the patient’s body. The patient might be asked to breathe in a definite 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 necessary to perform the test, a cardiologist will best interpret the results.
The test is performed for a variety of reasons:
- To look for heart murmurs.
- To observe the heart in greater detail
- 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.
This kind of test is perfectly safe and should be performed in an environment with a trained sonographer present. Patients are give advice to speak to their cardiologist before taking any medication or changing their schedule. 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.