WHAT IS AN ECHOCARDIOGRAM?

 

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound image of the heart. It can help doctors

diagnose a range of heart problems.

 

Doctors use echocardiograms to help them diagnose heart problems, such as damaged cardiac tissue, chamber enlargement, stiffening of the heart muscle, blood clots in the heart, fluid around the heart, and damaged or poorly functioning heart valves.

 

In this article, we explain how doctors use echocardiograms, what to expect

 during the test, and how to interpret the results.

 

Echocardiography uses ultrasound waves to create a picture of the heart, called an echocardiogram (echo).

 

It is a non-invasive medical procedure that produces no radiation

and does not cause side effects.

 

During an echocardiogram, a doctor can see:

 

the size and thickness of the chambers

 

how the valves of the heart are functioning

 

the direction of blood flow through the heart

 

any blood clots in the heart

 

areas of damaged or weak cardiac muscle tissue

 

problems affecting the pericardium, which is the fluid filled sac around the heart

 

Doctors also use echocardiography when they want to examine a person’s general heart health, especially after a heart attack or stroke.

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