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Overview

The human heart is one of the most complex and yet critical organs in the human body, so much so that the tracing of heart beats is actually called a life line. Because of its importance, the advancement in the field of medicine has developed multiple procedures to determine the health of the heart. One of the common non-invasive procedure used to measure heart health is echocardiogram.

 

What is an Echocardiogram Test?

So, what is an echocardiogram test? It is a painless and non-invasive test in which high frequency sound waves are applied to your chest. These sound waves travel through the skin and other tissues, and bounce back (echo) from the heart muscles. This echo is then captured and monitored using a monitoring device that displays real time images of the heart.

The echocardiogram test is one of the safest and risk free procedures to identify heart related ailments. Since it does not use any harmful radiations like the ECG, this is a test that can be safely performed even on pregnant ladies to check the health of the unborn baby’s heart.

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Types of Echocardiogram Test

There are multiple types of Echocardiogram procedures, some of them are listed below

  • Transthoracic Echocardiogram – The most common and completely non-invasive echocardiogram test, this procedure is conducted by placing a transducer on the chest. The transducer is moved around and is used to generate extremely high frequency sound waves that cannot be heard. The echo of the sound waves is captured by electrodes and displayed live on a computer monitor.
  • Transoesophageal Echocardiogram – In the event when the doctor is not satisfied with the result of the transthoracic echocardiogram, they may decide to go for transoesophageal echocardiogram. In this procedure, a small transducer is inserted through the food pipe (oesophagus) and into the heart chamber.
  • Stress Echocardiogram – In this procedure, the echocardiogram test is conducted after you perform certain physical exercises like running on a treadmill, to check your heart’s performance under stress.
  • Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram – In case someone is not able to exercise for any reason, the effects of the exercise can be replicated using a medicine called Dobutamine, during a stress echocardiogram procedure. The administration of the drug is strictly monitored and the procedure is called dobutamine stress echo test.
  • 3-D Echocardiogram – During this echocardiogram test, multiple images are taken from different angles to create a 3-D image of the heart, typically before a heart surgery.

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