Monitoring and diagnosing heart conditions, and determining treatment steps
Echocardiography is a procedure that directs ultrasonic waves (much like a sonogram) over the chest wall to obtain images of the heart.
The images produced during echocardiography show the heart's position, the motion of the walls of the heart and the interior chambers, and the valves of the heart. The echocardiogram can also show blood flow within the chambers of the heart. These images help your cardiologist determine whether the heart valves are functioning properly or if there is an abnormal communication or flow between the chambers or major blood vessels.
Why is Echocardiography performed?
Echocardiographic cardiac images help cardiologists determine many things about your heart. Your doctor may perform an echocardiogram to:
- Assess the function of your heart.
- Help diagnosis many different types of heart disease.
- Help determine the progression or stability of many types of valvular disease.
- Assess the pumping function of your heart.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of surgical or medical cardiac treatments which you may have undergone.
The results of the echocardiogram will help you and and your physician determine the best course of treatment.
Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)
Special types of echocardiograms can be performed to help assess certain cardiac conditions. A transesophageal echocardiogram, or TEE, utilizes a transducer that is placed within the esophagus (food pipe) in order to obtain cardiac images from the back of the heart.