Echocardiogram

Echocardiogram in tijuana

This test uses ultrasound high frequency waves that crash against heart structure and emit a sound that gets recorded in a live image. When these sound waves crash against structures of the heart the create a moving image that allows us to evaluate the heart in motion. These images get reproduced in a digital screen that also gets recorded on a DVD and written report is also provided. The quality of the image is very detailed and provided information that cannot be obtained through an X-ray and it has the added benefit of not requiring radiation exposure. Because of this, this test is widely used, is harmless and provided excellent detailed information.

Grupo Cardiovascular de Tijuana

Misión de San Diego 1527, Zona Urbana Rio Tijuana, 22010 Tijuana, B.C.

The echocardiogram visualizes many structures of the heart, blood vessels, cardiac function, among others, the only limitation is the obstruction of the image by the ribcage, surrounding tissues and skin fat. 

There are different types of echocardiograms: 

  • Transthoracic echocardiogram: it visualizes the heart structures through the thoracic wall.
  • Trans-esophagic echocardiogram: visualizes heart structures through the esophagus, this modality provides greater quality images and also analyzes structure that sit behind the heart. 

There are additional modalities within types of echocardiogram, some will require the use of medications that stimulate the heart. The echocardiogram that does not require stimulants is called a Doppler or basal echocardiogram. On occasion the doctor will request the use of stimulants such as dobutamine, or dipyridamole or cardiac isotopes, this is considered a stress-echocardiogram. This type of study will mimic how the heart responds under situations of high stress, almost like the patient is doing strenuous exercise. On other occasions we ask the patient to run on a treadmill and assess the heart while the patient is actually running this avoiding the need to use stimulating medications.

Also, the echocardiogram can be one-dimensional, bi-dimensional or Doppler, this last one allows us to evaluate the speed the blood flows through vessels and through the heart valves.

Grupo Cardiovascular de Tijuana

Misión de San Diego 1527, Zona Urbana Rio Tijuana, 22010 Tijuana, B.C.

Echocardiogram procedure

The patient will be asked to remain undressed from the waist up and will lay on an exam table. A drop of gel gets put on the chest and the transductor get placed directly on the thorax by applying a little pressure.

The transductor is an instrument that transmits high frequency sound waves while it slides across the ribcage ribs near the sternum, directing it towards the heart.

The cardiologist may instruct the patient to breathe in a certain way or to lean into a specific position to allow better visualization of the heart. Through this process a series of sound waves get identified and translated into electrical tracings.

The echocardiogram converts these electrical signals into moving images of the heart. On some occasions the images obtained are not clear enough, then a trans-esophageal echocardiogram could be indicated.

Indications

This technique is done to evaluate the valves and chambers of the heart in a non-invasive way. It allows evaluation of the origin of certain heart murmurs, by evaluating the pump function of the heart and the movement and thickness of the heart wall, this modality can also show us when the patient has suffered a previous heart.

Other indications:

  • Identifying possible pericardial effusions or other pericardial diseases
  • Study of arrhythmias
  • Evaluation of patients with valve prostheses
  • Identification of patients suffered a myocardial infarction
  • Study of cardiomyopathies (alcoholic or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)
  • Ruling out pericarditis diagnosis
  • Evaluation if the cause of cerebral infarction is a disordered heart wall motion that is allowing blood to pool and releasing emboli to the brain.
  • Evaluation of patients with poorly controlled and severe arterial hypertension, it helps determine if there’s an unknown cardiac disorder as consequence of sustained hypertension.
  • Evaluation of symptoms suggestive of cardiac tamponade or aortic dissection.

Grupo Cardiovascular de Tijuana

Misión de San Diego 1527, Zona Urbana Rio Tijuana, 22010 Tijuana, B.C.

Complicaciones

No existen complicaciones graves dado que se trata de una prueba no invasiva y bastante inofensiva. En aquellos casos en los que se realice la prueba con sustancias que induzcan una situación de estrés, habrá que tener presente sus posibles efectos secundarios. Al ser sustancias estimulantes, habrá que vigilar la posible aparición de dolor torácico, sensación de fatiga o falta de aire, presencia de arritmias, etc.

Instructions and care

This diagnostic test does not require any preparation and no special subsequent care is required after g a baseline transthoracic echocardiogram.

When the trans-esophageal echocardiogram is performed, it will be necessary to explain to the patient what it consists of and to reassure him, patient cooperation is very important.

We do however recommend not to eat food 1-2 hours after getting an echocardiogram. With the stress echocardiogram, there is no need for before or after care.

Contraindications

With baseline echocardiogram, there are no contraindications. With stress echocardiogram, it is contraindicated in patients with severe heart or lung disease.

Likewise, the trans-esophageal echocardiogram is contra-indicated in those patients with critical conditions, in whom the procedure may have more risks than benefits.

Call us at (664) 634-3139 to Schedule an evaluation.

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