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What an Echocardiogram Can Tell Us About Your Heart

What an Echocardiogram Can Tell Us About Your Heart

Consider this: Nearly half of Americans have some type of cardiovascular disease (CVD). From hypertension and high cholesterol to heart failure and valvular disorders, cardiovascular diseases can strike in many ways, and they’re all cause for concern from where we stand.

As a board-certified cardiologist, Dr. James Kim is well familiar with the many ways that CVD can show up, which means making the right diagnosis is key. While we have a number of diagnostic tools in our arsenal, the echocardiogram (or echo) is one of the most valuable.

So, if we’re recommending that you come in for an echocardiogram, learn all that we can determine with this quick, easy, and painless imaging tool.

Getting a closer look at your heart

In the most basic of explanations, an echocardiogram provides us with images of your heart using ultrasound technology. 

More specifically, we deliver high-frequency sound waves into your chest, and when these sound waves bounce off of the internal structures, they create an echo that computer technology translates into an image of your heart while it’s working.

To provide more detail, we may also use color Doppler ultrasound to evaluate how your blood is flowing through your heart.

Why we turn to an echocardiogram

Given that we can see an image of your heart with an echocardiogram, which includes blood flow and the pumping action of your heart muscle, there’s a good deal we can determine with this test. To give you an idea, here’s just some of what we can evaluate with an echo:

As you can see, an echocardiogram paints a fairly detailed picture of how your heart is functioning, and we’re able to use it to identify a wide range of abnormalities or malfunctions.

Getting your echocardiogram

Remember, an echocardiogram is noninvasive and quite painless. The ultrasound waves pass harmlessly from the wand and through your skin and then back out again. Unlike X-rays, there's no radiation involved in an echocardiogram.

Better still, it takes us only a few minutes to perform an echocardiogram. Once we get you comfortable on the table, we apply a special gel to your skin that helps the sound waves pass through, and then we move the wand around your chest to look at your heart from different angles.

Once we’ve gathered the necessary information, you’re free to go home, and you won’t have any side effects.

So, if you’re getting ready for an echocardiogram, or you have one down the road, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain from this important diagnostic test.

If you have more questions about the echocardiogram, please feel free to contact us at one of our offices in Chula Vista or National City, California.

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