An echocardiography is a sonogram of the heart that uses two dimensional, three dimensional, and Doppler Ultrasound to produce diagnostic images of the heart.
What is it?
Echocardiography is a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure that is used to take motion pictures of the heart using sounds waves. The procedure is necessary for patients who have or have had a heart murmur, heart attack, chest pain, rheumatic fever, or a congenital heart defect.
What should I do to prepare?
This test requires no specific preparations, but the patient should arrange for transportation if the procedure is a transesophageal echocardiogram. Sometimes, this alternative procedure is needed for clearer pictures and requires passage of a probe down the patient’s esophagus (throat).
What happens during the process?
The procedure begins with the patient lying on his or her left side or back. The sonographer applies a special jelly to a probe which is moved over the patient’s chest area. Images of the heart and valves are taken, and heart movements are recorded. The procedure is painless and lasts about one hour.
What are the risks and potential complications?
There are seldom complications for non-invasive echocardiography. There are a few possible risks associated with transesophageal echocardiography, including, but not limited to, adverse reactions to the relaxation medicine (breathing, nausea) and a sore throat during the hours following the procedure.
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