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Echocardiogram

Procedure

An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound exam that may be used to help your doctor diagnose certain heart-related conditions, such as heart disease.

Echocardiogram Test in Long Island & Queens

What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram test, also known as an “echo”, is a particular type of ultrasound exam that can evaluate cardio—or heart-related—activities, including blood flow and valve function. The test sends a series of sound waves through your body, which create images of your heart and the surrounding area. The test is commonly used to help your doctor diagnose heart disease, among other heart irregularities.

There are multiple types of echocardiograms. The type of echocardiogram needed for each individual will vary depending on your personal needs and your doctor’s recommendation.

Why is an echocardiogram performed?

An echocardiogram may be recommended by your doctor if you have:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Suspected fetal heart condition (heart condition in the unborn child during pregnancy)
  • Other heart-related problems that could benefit from further analysis

What types of echocardiograms are available?

There are several different types of echocardiograms available, including the following:

Transthoracic Echocardiogram

Transthoracic ecocardiograms are standard, non-invasive echocardiogram tests, during which a technician uses a special device called a transducer against your chest to create images of your heart. Sometimes, the procedure requires a contrast medium, which is injected into the blood stream to provide a more detailed image.

MUGA Scan

A multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan is a type of nuclear medicine imaging test that shows your doctor how well your heart is pumping blood by using a special camera and radioactive contrast material.

SPECT Scan

A single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scan is a type of nuclear medicine that helps your doctor evaluate the functionality of your heart. It can also be used to analyze other internal organs. The scan uses a radioactive tracer and a special camera to measure heart health and performance.

Stress Echocardiogram

Because certain heart problems are triggered by physical activity (causing a “stress” on the heart), sometimes a certain type of echocardiogram, called a stress echocardiogram, is used to create images of the heart when it is stressed. The heart is stimulated by either physical activity (such as walking on a treadmill) or by taking a certain type of medication.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram

A transesophageal echocardiogram is used when it is too difficult to see the heart with a standard transthoracic echocardiogram. In order to see the heart clearly, a small, flexible tube is inserted through your throat and into the esophagus, viewing the heart from inside the body.

Doppler Echocardiogram

Doppler techniques are used in many transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiograms, giving doctors the ability to check for blood flow problems. The Doppler technique works by sending sound waves through the body and measuring the changes in pitch created when the waves bounce off moving blood cells.

What does an echocardiogram involve?

An echocardiogram test is done during an office visit at Neighborhood Radiology Services with our state-of-the-art equipment. Our friendly staff will provide instructions depending on the type of echocardiogram you are undergoing. In many cases, the exam will be performed while you lie comfortably on an exam table. One of our experienced technicians will place sticky patches, called electrodes, around your chest area to help detect your heart beat during the test.

Next, a special gel is applied to your chest and a device, called a transducer, is moved back and forth over the gel. This device emits sound waves through your chest and records the sounds that bounce back, gathering important information about your heart and blood flow.

In general, echocardiograms are typically done within one hour, but in some cases, the procedure may take longer. Your exam may vary slightly depending on the type of echocardiogram being performed. For example, an echocardiogram that requires a contrast medium will first involve an injection. Speak with your doctor for details about what you can expect during your exam.

What are the benefits of undergoing an echocardiogram at Neighborhood Radiology Services?

The benefits of undergoing an echocardiogram with one of our board-certified radiologists in New York include:

  • Non-invasive and painless test
  • Little or no risks involved
  • Can help determine the cause of a wide range of heart conditions

If you need to book an echocardiogram test, contact our board-certified radiologists at Neighborhood Radiology Services, with locations throughout the New York Metropolitan Area. Fill out the form on this page to request an appointment or call 800-220-2220 to learn more about our services.

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