An echocardiogram also called an echo test, is a type of ultrasound that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart that can be seen on a video screen. In simple words, it is a scan used to look at the heart and nearby blood vessels. An echocardiogram may be requested by a heart specialist (cardiologist) or any doctor who thinks you might have a problem with your heart.
An echocardiogram can help diagnose and monitor certain heart conditions by checking the structure of the heart and surrounding blood vessels, analyzing how blood flows through them, and assessing the pumping chambers of the heart.
1) Damage from a heart attack:- where the supply of blood to the heart was suddenly blocked
2) Heart failure:- where the heart fails to pump enough blood around the body at the right pressure
3) Congenital heart disease:- birth defects that affect the normal workings of the heart
4) Problems with the heart valves:- problems affecting the valsves that control the flow of blood within the heart
5) Cardiomyopathy:- where the heart walls become thickened or enlarged
6) Endocarditis:- an infection of the heart valves and the best treatment for the condition
Are there any risks or side effects?
A standard echocardiogram is a simple, painless and safe procedure. There are no side effects from the scan, although the lubricating gel may feel cold and you may experience some minor discomfort when the electrodes are removed from your skin at the end of the test. No radiation is used during an echocardiogram therefore no serious side effects are caused other than drowsiness in case a sedative is given. A slight itchiness or rash may be caused due to the gel used during procedure.