Posted on : January 22, 2020 by Clinic One on Blog
ECHO is a process of capturing an image of a person’s heart in detail with a motive of diagnosing a heart disease if any. In the medical field, echo is a simple term used for echocardiography, echocardiogram or cardiac echo.
How is Clinic One’s ECHO different from others?
- Echo is performed thoroughly and reports are delivered instantly.
- Clean and comfortable waiting area.
- Clinic One’s building is disabled friendly.
- Coffee and green tea available while you wait for the reports.
- Bedsheet and towels are changed after every patient for good hygiene.
- You can make your appointment at your convenience.
Echocardiography is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves (i.e. Ultrasound) to create the appropriate picture of a heart’s chamber, valves, walls and the blood vessels (aorta, arteries, veins). This is a harmless process where a probe called a transducer is passed over a chest that produces sound waves which bounce off your heart and echo back to the probe. These views are presented as a picture on a video monitor.
What types of ECHO (Echocardiogram) are available at Clinic One Kathmandu?
- Transthoracic Echocardiogram: It is a standard echocardiogram where sonographer spreads gel on the device and presses the transducer firmly against your skin which records the echoes of the sound waves and presents the visual image on a monitor.
- Transesophageal Echocardiogram: It is performed to capture a more detailed image than a standard echocardiogram. A flexible tube containing a transducer is guided down a numb throat connecting your mouth and stomach. The transducer records the sound waves and those waves are converted into a detailed moving image of your heart.
- Doppler Echocardiogram: It is a procedure to inspect the speed and direction of blood flow in the heart. It is also used to check blood flow problems and blood pressure in the arteries of a heart.
- Stress echocardiogram: The image of a heart is captured before and immediately after a heavy physical activity to check coronary artery problems.
At Clinic One, we currently provide Transthoracic Echocardiogram and Doppler Echocardiogram services only.
What are the uses of ECHO?
- Monitor the size and shape of the heart along with the size, thickness, and movement of the heart wall.
- Pumping strength of heart.
- Check if any problem with heart valves and chambers of the heart.
- Inspect the narrowness of heart valves.
- Study if there is a tumor or infectious growth around the heart valves.
- Understand the cause of shortness of breath or chest pain.
- Detect congenital heart defect before birth.
How do you prepare for an ECHO?
Generally, there is no strict instruction for a diet to prepare for this examination procedure. You are allowed to eat, drink or take medication as you normally would. But if you are having a transesophageal echocardiogram, the doctor may ask you to eat several hours before the test. On the other hand, driving yourself after a transesophageal echocardiogram is not recommended due to the intake of certain medication which makes you dizzy and uncomfortable.
What happens during an ECHO procedure?
In the case of standard transthoracic echocardiogram following are the necessary steps to be taken:
- Undress the upper half of the body and lie on the examination bed.
- The doctor will apply a gel to the transducer that improves the conduction of sound waves.
- The doctor will constantly move the transducer back and forth over the chest to capture the image of sound-waves echoes from the heart.
- The doctor may instruct you to breathe in a certain manner as per their requirement.
What happens after the ECHO procedure?
There isn’t any after effect of the examination, so mostly, people can resume their daily activity. If the results are normal, no further process is needed; but if the results are unusual, your doctor may advise for further diagnosis and treatment accordingly.
What do you get from the ECHO results?
Information from echocardiogram may provide:
- High blood pressure or other diseases can cause the heart chambers to enlarge or the walls of the heart to be abnormally thickened which further weakens or damage the heart valves.
- The measurement obtained provides the percentage of the blood being pumped out of a filled ventricle with each heartbeat and the volume of blood pumped by the heart in one minute resulting in the strength of the blood.
- Determine whether all the parts of the heart walls are contributing equally to the heart’s pumping activity; the areas of the heart wall that move weakly may have been damaged.
- Determine if the heart valves open wide enough for adequate blood flow or close fully to prevent blood leakage.
- It can show problems with heart chambers, abnormal connections between heart and major blood vessels and the complex heart defects that are present at birth.
Who does the ECHO test?
In Nepal, only a certified Cardiologist is authorized to conduct an echocardiography test with complete awareness about the patient’s medical history or current symptoms.
Are there any risks?
Overall there are no critical risk factors involved in the standard echocardiogram. A bit of discomfort can be felt while the transducer firmly moves around the chest, or else, the rest of the process is very normal and simple.
While in the case of a transesophageal echocardiogram, you may feel sore throat after the examination for a few hours. Well, in a very rare case the tube may scrape the inside of the throat.
And in the case of a stress echocardiogram, the physical activity may cause a temporary irregular heartbeat. Apart from that, there is no risk to undergo this examination process overall.
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