James Kim, MD
Cardiologist & Board Certified in Cardiovascular Diseases located in National City, CA & Chula Vista, CA
If you have chest pain or other symptoms of a heart problem, an echocardiogram provides valuable diagnostic information. Fellowship-trained cardiologist James Kim, MD, offers convenient in-office echocardiograms at both of his offices in National City and Chula Vista, California. Call or schedule a consultation online today if you need an echocardiogram or expert cardiovascular health care.
Echocardiogram Q & A
What is an echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram is a special type of ultrasound that creates pictures and videos of your heart. It uses soundwaves and their echoes that bounce off your heart and the surrounding blood vessels.
Echocardiograms are noninvasive, safe, and relatively quick. You don’t need to take time off to recover and can usually return to your regular activities immediately.
Why do I need an echocardiogram?
Dr. Kim uses echocardiograms to diagnose cardiovascular health problems. For example, if you have chest pain or shortness of breath, he can use an echocardiogram to examine:
- The shape and size of your heart
- The thickness and movement of your heart muscles
- How your heart moves
- Whether your valves function correctly
- The size of your valves
He can also look for signs of tumors or regurgitation, when blood leaks backward through a valve. An echocardiogram can help diagnose issues with the pericardium (the lining of your heart), your coronary arteries, abnormal holes between your heart’s chambers, and blood clots.
How should I prepare for an echocardiogram?
You don’t need to do anything special to prepare for an echocardiogram. You might want to wear loose, comfortable clothing on the day of your appointment, but there’s no need to fast or stop taking blood thinners.
What happens during an echocardiogram?
Dr. Kim offers in-office echocardiograms that last approximately an hour. He prepares you for the test by attaching electrodes to your chest to monitor your heartbeat during the echocardiogram.
Then, he applies a clear gel to your skin to help the transducer wand glide smoothly and create clear images. As Dr. Kim moves the transducer over your chest, it transmits ultrasound waves and collects their echoes as they bounce off your heart and blood vessels.
A computer translates the echoes into images and displays them on a screen in the treatment room. The equipment records the images so Dr. Kim can review them later. Dr. Kim might include a stress test with your echocardiogram.
When your echocardiogram is complete, Dr. Kim removes the electrodes and wipes the gel off your chest. You schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss your results and next steps and return to your regular activities.
For convenient echocardiogram services, call the office of James Kim, MD, or schedule a consultation online today.