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Echocardiogram: Your Concise Guide

What is Echocardiogram?


An echocardiogram uses ultrasound, i.e., high-frequency sound waves to examine the pumping action of the heart. The test is performed by a sonographer using a transducer, a microphone-like device, and a monitor on which the heartbeats get charted in a wave-form. Three small, flat patches, which are ends of electrodes are placed on the chest. A gel may be applied on the chest or at the end of the transducer that is moved on the chest. The person might be asked to change positions while lying down.


When is Echocardiogram recommended?


This test is needed when the heartbeats have an irregular rhythm, sound or when an electrocardiogram suggests a structural heart problem. Patients could experience fatigue, fainting, and breathlessness over the course of the test. The objective of the test is to detect various heart diseases and structural abnormalities.


Preparing for Echocardiogram


Confirm the costs of the test, carry your ID, and a signed form. Arrange for a ride back home, as you may not feel fit enough to drive. You’ll wear a hospital gown and lie down on a table or bed for the test.
Be prepared to hear some pulsing sounds during the test.


Understanding Echocardiogram results.


The doctor may fix a separate appointment to discuss the results. The report includes the heartbeat rate, normal being 60-100 per minute; an evaluation of the size and thickness of the heart; shape and movements of valves and ventricles. There’ll be comments stating whether blood clots or leaking of blood flow were observed during the examination.
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