An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of your heart. It is a frequently used test to assess both the structure and the function of your heart in a wide range of cardiac conditions.
Key parts of assessment of an echocardiogram include:
– measuring left ventricular ejection fraction (pump function)
– assessing for any variation in wall motion in the left ventricle which can suggest problems with blood flow through the coronary arteries
– measuring how the heart relaxes and fills
– assessing all heart valves to detect problems like stenosis (narrowed valves) or regurgitation (leaky valves)
– assessing the right ventricle (pump on the right side of the heart)
– measuring the size of the aorta (main artery taking blood from the heart to the body)
– evidence of shunting (abnormal connections between chambers)
An echocardiogram is performed lying on your left side with several electrodes attached to monitor your heart rhythm. The probe is applied to several different positions on the chest with some ultrasound gel. It is performed by a sonographer and takes around half an hour. Some patients will need repeat echocardiograms to monitor their heart condition over time.
We perform echocardiograms at Medical Specialists on Rathdowne (Carlton North), NCN Health (Numurkah) and the Shepparton Medical Centre.
Watch this video to see what’s involved when having an echocardiogram: