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Patients who experience symptoms that point to certain heart issues are sometimes advised to take an echocardiogram test. An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves that create echoes as they bounce off body parts and organs, usually specifically targeting the heart. If you are experiencing discomfort, pain, or issues in your chest, then it is probably time to visit your doctor. Southern Maryland Medical Group is happy to schedule an appointment or accept walk-in appointments to get to the bottom of your concerns. Call us any time to speak with a friendly member of our team.

What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram, also called an “echo,” is an ultrasound test that checks on the structure and function of your heart. It can also be used to monitor blood vessels surrounding the heart. There are a few types of echocardiograms, but they are all similar in that they bounce sound waves off body parts and record the echoes to create a visual display of your heart and blood vessels.

How echocardiograms are carried out

The standard echocardiogram is a transthoracic echocardiogram. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown before lying down. Several electrodes, or sticky sensors, will be attached to your chest and connected to a machine to monitor your heart rhythm through the test. Then, a lubricating gel will be applied to your chest or on the ultrasound probe and you will be asked to lie on your left side. The probe will then be moved across your chest, bouncing sound waves off your body and recording the echoes in a nearby machine connected to the probe via a cable.
There are a few other types of echocardiograms too. A stress echocardiogram is like the standard one but is carried out during or right after a period of exercise. This option is usually carried out when the patient’s symptoms arise after physical exercise or stress. 
A transesophageal echocardiogram, meanwhile, is used for more detailed imaging. In this procedure, your throat will be numbed and a small, flexible probe guided down your throat and into the esophagus. The probe will produce sound waves and record the echoes like in a standard echocardiogram, except the closer proximity will produce more detailed imaging.


Getting your results

The echocardiogram produces live footage of your heart and blood vessels, meaning the echocardiogram doctor can discuss what’s going on during the echocardiogram treatment. Other times, the images from the scan will be sent to a specialist who will report the results to your primary physician.

What are the risks?

A standard echocardiogram is a safe and simple procedure. Unlike X-rays or CT scans, an echocardiogram does not use radiation. However, the lubricating gel and probe may feel cold and you may feel some discomfort when the sticky electrodes are removed from your skin after the test. Your doctor will go review what to expect during your appointment.

Schedule an appointment today

Are you experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and other discomforts in your chest? Call Southern Maryland Medical Group to schedule an appointment with a board-certified physician today. Our friendly team is on standby to take your call. We are also happy to take walk-in appointments at any of our three clinics.

Our Locations

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. 

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Camp Springs, MD

5801 Allentown Road, Suite 400 Camp Spring, MD 20746

Phone: 301-868- 0150

Billing Inquiries: 301-552-1270

Fax: 301-868-0243

Greenbelt, MD

7500 Greenway Center, Dr #1200 Greenbelt, MD 20770

Phone: 301-486-7580

Billing Inquiries: 301-552-1270

Fax: 301-486-7581

Riverdale, MD

6510 Kenilworth Ave, Ste 1400, Riverdale MD 20737

Phone: 301-618-0771

Billing Inquiries: 301-552-1270

Fax: 301-618-0772