What an Echocardiogram Can Reveal About Your Heart

Jun 12, 2023
What an Echocardiogram Can Reveal About Your Heart
Unlock information about your heart with an echocardiogram. This noninvasive test reveals valuable insights about your heart's health, providing a roadmap for personalized, effective cardiac care.

At Carolina Heart and Leg Center, our expert team of board-certified interventional cardiologists provides comprehensive care with the most advanced diagnostic tools. One such tool is the echocardiogram, a noninvasive test that uses ultrasound technology to create detailed images of your heart. 

These images allow us to observe the heart’s structure and assess its function, providing critical information to guide your cardiac care. With this in mind, let's delve into how an echocardiogram can unlock essential insights into your heart health.

How an echocardiogram works

During an echocardiogram, sound waves are transmitted into the body using a device called a transducer. These waves bounce off the heart and return to the transducer, creating echoes that are transformed into moving images. The procedure is painless and generally takes less than an hour.

When an echocardiogram may be recommended

Our experienced team at Carolina Heart and Leg Center may recommend an echocardiogram to evaluate symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations. It's also used to monitor existing heart conditions or to check the heart's health in those with a family history of heart disease. 

By using an echocardiogram, we can gain valuable insights and guide the best course of treatment for each individual patient.

Decoding the heart's health

Echocardiograms provide useful information about your heart, including:

Valve function

The heart's valves ensure blood flows in the right direction. An echocardiogram can detect problems, such as valve narrowing (stenosis) or leaking (regurgitation), which may cause symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, or swelling in the legs and ankles.

Heart size and shape

Changes in the heart's size and shape can indicate conditions like cardiomyopathy. This condition, which makes it harder for the heart to pump blood, can be identified and managed early with regular echocardiograms.

Heart wall movement

Normal heart walls move in a specific pattern as they pump blood. If this movement is abnormal, it may suggest coronary artery disease or a previous heart attack.

The importance of routine echocardiograms

While echocardiograms are often performed to investigate specific symptoms or monitor known heart conditions, they can also play a crucial role in preventive health care. Routine echocardiograms can help detect potential heart issues before they develop into serious conditions, especially for those at higher risk due to factors, such as age, family history, or lifestyle.

Heart diseases often progress silently, with serious symptoms striking only in advanced stages. Echocardiograms can identify subtle changes in the heart's structure or function that may not yet be causing noticeable symptoms. This early detection can enable timely intervention and potentially prevent the progression of more serious heart conditions.

For patients diagnosed with heart conditions, routine echocardiograms are an essential tool for monitoring the effectiveness of treatments and making necessary adjustments. The images can reveal whether a medication is working or if a different approach is needed. They can also help determine the optimal timing for procedures such as valve repair or replacement.

Comprehensive heart and vein care

Your heart health is our primary concern at the Carolina Heart and Leg Center. Don't wait for symptoms to appear; being proactive can make all the difference. 

Connect with us today — online or via a call — to schedule your heart health check. Let's work together to ensure your heart stays healthy for years to come.