With so many medical procedures available and as much medical jargon to go with it, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by question marks in your head. Let’s take it one at a time. In this brief article brought to you by Southern Maryland Medical Group, we will dive into the basics of an echocardiogram. We will start off with a quick description of the procedure, then review some cases where an echocardiogram is helpful. Finally, we will briefly summarize what you can expect during an echocardiogram treatment appointment.
An echocardiogram is a type of medical imaging. Specifically, an echocardiogram uses ultrasound, or high frequency sound waves, from a transducer to generate an image or reflection of an individual’s heart. This diagnostic technique offers a wealth of information, including the size and shape of the heart, its pumping capacity, location and extent of any tissue damage, and more. Other names for an echocardiogram include a "heart ultrasound" or "heart sonogram."
TIP: Breaking down the word into its three Greek roots can help you better remember what it means: Echo, cardio, and gram. Echo means sound, cardio means heart, and gram stands for something written or drawn.
There are four main types of echocardiograms:
It’s important to note that echocardiograms do NOT expose patients to X-rays. Echocardiography uses harmless sound waves called ultrasound.
It is advised that you speak to your primary care physician if you experience any chest pain or discomfort, fluttering feelings or palpitations in the chest, or shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Heart disease is the leading cause of death and symptoms should be addressed without delay.
An echocardiogram can help detect:
A standard echocardiogram treatment is a simple and painless procedure with zero side effects. At worst, you might find the lubricating gel and probe to be a little chilly but experienced physicians at Southern Maryland Medical Group will do their part to make sure even that is minimal. You may also experience minor discomfort when the electrodes are removed from your skin at the end of the test.
Your physician at Southern Maryland Medical Group will clearly go over how to prepare for your echocardiogram and what you can expect at your appointment.
Southern Maryland Medical Group has 3 convenient locations to provide professional medical care services in the Southern Maryland area. Call or schedule an appointment with one of our locations to get medical care help.