An echocardiogram (echo) is a test that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to make pictures of your heart. The test is also called echocardiography or diagnostic cardiac ultrasound.
The type of echocardiogram you receive depends on the potential heart problem doctors need to investigate. We offer a full range of echo testing.
Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE): Transthoracic is the most common type of echocardiogram and is noninvasive, taking place entirely outside your body. A team member applies gel to your chest, then uses a handheld transducer to scan your heart.
3-D Echo: Echocardiography typically shows a flat picture, but our machines can also create 3-D imaging. This technology is particularly helpful for identifying problems with heart valves, replacement heart valves, and the heart’s lower left chamber (left ventricle). We are studying new, additional ways to use 3-D echo.
Intracardiac Echocardiogram (ICE): Intracardiac echocardiography represents a newer form of testing, with images taken inside your heart. We mostly use this approach to monitor treatments involving the placement of thin tubes called catheters inside your arteries.
M-mode Echocardiogram: This, the simplest type of echocardiography, produces an image that is similar to a tracing rather than an actual picture of heart structures. M-mode echo is useful for measuring heart structures, such as the heart’s pumping chambers, the size of the heart itself, and the thickness of the heart walls.
Stress Echocardiogram: We may need to run an echocardiogram as part of a comprehensive stress test that deliberately increases your heart rate and blood pressure. We take two sets of images, one at rest, and another after working out on a treadmill or stationary bike. If your health prevents such physical activity, we inject a medication that mimics the effect of exercise. This test is called a pharmacologic stress echocardiogram.
Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE): Sometimes the best approach is to guide a special ultrasound probe into your mouth and down your esophagus after sedation. We can take better images, because the esophagus and heart sit close together and the sound waves do not need to pass through skin, muscle, or bone. TEE is a better choice for some conditions. We may also need to see a specific part of the heart with greater resolution. Additionally, obesity and lung disease can interfere with standard echocardiography.
Holter Monitoring is a process for continuously monitoring various electrical activity of the central nervous system for at least 24 hours. The Holter’s most common use is for monitoring heart activity but it can also be used for monitoring brain activity.
Doppler Echocardiogram: This technique is used to measure and assess the flow of blood through the heart’s chambers and valves. The amount of blood pumped out with each beat is an indication of the heart’s functioning. Also, Doppler can detect abnormal blood flow within the heart, which can indicate a problem with one or more of the heart’s four valves, or with the heart’s walls.