An echocardiogram uses ultrasound technology to create an image of your heart. Different types of echocardiograms can create different types of images that provide vital information to your doctor about your heart.
The experts at Heart & Vascular Institute often ask patients to undergo echocardiograms to check for problems or assess how well treatments are working. Having an echocardiogram isn’t painful and it’s noninvasive, which means you don’t have to worry about incisions.
What an echocardiogram shows
An echocardiogram offers your doctor a lot of information about your heart, including:
- How well blood is moving through your heart
- The thickness of your heart tissue
- The blood pressure in your heart
- Whether the valves in your heart are working properly
- Whether you have blood clots or tumors in your heart
- How your heart responds to certain medications or devices
There are several types of echocardiograms, such as an M-mode echocardiogram, the most common and simplest type. Another is a Doppler echocardiogram, which gives a more detailed view of how the blood moves through your heart.
A two-dimensional echocardiogram shows the motion of your heart. A three-dimensional echocardiogram shows the movement of your heart and a more detailed view of your heart’s structure.
Why your doctor may order an echocardiogram
Since an echocardiogram provides a lot of information about your heart’s structure and function, there are a few reasons your doctor may ask you to have one. An echocardiogram may, for example, help them determine why you’ve been having chest pain or shortness of breath.
Similarly, if you’re experiencing an irregular heartbeat, or if your doctor suspects problems with your heart valves, an echocardiogram could help them understand the underlying issues.
Another reason you may need an echocardiogram is so your doctor can see how well your treatment is working. If you’ve had surgery, been taking new medications, or had a device like a pacemaker installed, an echocardiogram may be the best way to measure your progress.
To understand why your doctor wants you to have an echocardiogram, don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions during your visit. The highly trained experts at Heart & Vascular Institute always try to explain diagnostic tests and your treatment options, but we welcome your questions.
To learn more about echocardiograms and how one might benefit you, schedule an appointment with Heart & Vascular Institute. We have locations in Dearborn, Detroit, and Southfield, Michigan. Call the office nearest you to schedule your visit or book online today.