Ultrasound of the heart (echocardiography) is one of the most widely used techniques for diagnosing cardiac disease since it provides excellent quality images and is:
- Relatively cheap
- Widely available
Level 2 ultrasound is also used to diagnose vascular disorders in other parts of the body.
Echocardiography can be used to detect if the heart muscle is moving normally and to measure the volume of blood pumped with each beat. This procedure can also detect abnormalities in the structure of the heart, such as defects in the heart valves , congenital anomalies (such as holes in the walls between the different chambers of the heart) and increased thickness of the walls or chambers of the heart. One should get complete information about doppler ultrasound cost before undergoing any diagnosis.
Echocardiography can also be used to detect a pericardial effusion, in which there is fluid accumulation between the two layers of the heart (pericardium) and constrictive pericarditis, in which scar tissue forms throughout the pericardium. It also detects dissection of the aorta, a tear inside the layers of the aortic wall.
The main types of ultrasound are:
- Color doppler
The two - dimensional ultrasound is the technique most widely used and produces realistic two - dimensional images, for "cuts" generated by computer. By joining the cuts, you can recreate a three-dimensional structure.
The Doppler ultrasound shows the direction and speed of blood circulation, so that it can detect the turbulent flow caused by a narrowing or blockage of blood vessels.The Doppler color shows the different speeds of blood flow in different colors.
4D ultrasound test and color doppler ultrasound are frequently used to help diagnose disorders that affect the heart and arteries and veins of the trunk, legs, and arms. Since these procedures can show the direction and speed of blood flow in the heart's chambers and blood vessels, they allow the doctor to assess the structure and function of these parts. For example, it is possible to determine whether the heart valves open and close correctly, whether and how much blood leaks when closed, and whether blood flows normally. Abnormal connections between an artery and a vein or between the heart chambers can also be detected.
How echocardiography is performed?
Ultrasound waves are emitted by a probe that can both emit and detect them (transducer). Typically, the transducer is portable and is placed on the chest over the heart. The examiner gels the skin under the transducer to help transmit the sound waves. The transducer is connected to a computer that displays the image on a screen and stores it in digital format. By changing the position and angle of the transducer, doctors can look at the heart and major nearby blood vessels from various angles to get a detailed picture of cardiac structures and function. During several moments of the exam, the person must hold their breath for about 10 seconds to ensure that well-defined images are obtained.
Color Doppler Echocardiography
Transesophageal echocardiography may be performedif the doctor needs to get more definition or to analyze the aorta or the structures of the back of the heart (especially the left atrium or the left ventricle). To carry out this procedure in ultrasound lab, a small flexible tube with an ultrasound transducer is passed through the end of the affected person's throat into the esophagus, so that the transducer is located just behind the heart. Since this procedure is uncomfortable, the person is sedated and the throat is anesthetized with an anesthetic spray. Transesophageal ultrasound test is also used when there is difficulty in performing common echocardiography due to obesity, lung disorders or other technical problems, or when the diagnosis of endocarditis is made.