What is an Echocardiogram?

Echocardiography HeartToday I was searching the web for interesting topics in the field of Echocardiography and Ultrasound in general.  This process started me thinking; We speak about echocardiograms and other Ultrasound studies all the time, but do our readers always know what the exams are?

One of the articles I found, does a pretty good job of explaining exactly what an Echocardiogram is.  I have decided to share this with my readers.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

What is an echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram is a non-invasive diagnostic test performed to evaluate the heart’s function. While the echocardiogram is being done, both you and your doctor will be able to watch your heart, as it beats, on a small monitor. It is often performed on pediatric cardiac patients.
 
What kinds of things can an echocardiogram find?
An echocardiogram is able to monitor the performance of the valves. It can help to diagnose structural abnormalities in the heart wall, valves, and blood vessels. It can detect tumors, clots or pericardial effusions (abnormal fluid collection around the heart). It is sometimes used after a heart attack to evaluate the cardiac wall motion and function. The most frequent use of an echocardiogram is for diagnosing or monitoring congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathies or aneurysms.

 The link to the full article is http://www.cardioassoc.org/?p=257.  This is worth reading.

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