Heart ultrasound or echocardiography (ECHO-CG) or ECHO of the heart - a method of examining the heart, its valvular apparatus and main vessels using ultrasound. Allows you to estimate the size and volume of the heart cavities, the thickness of the myocardial wall and its contractile ability, to monitor the movement of blood through the vessels and to determine changes in the valvular apparatus.
Statistics show that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. In order to detect cardiovascular disease in time, to avoid complications, you need to be periodically examined by a cardiologist. A complete cardiac examination usually includes an ultrasound of the heart. Your doctor may prescribe this test for the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Heaviness in the heart, pain
- Interruptions in the heart, a feeling of rapid heartbeat or fading
- The appearance of swelling in the legs
- Cyanosis of the skin
- Feeling of numbness and cold in the extremities
- Fatigue, loss of consciousness, dizziness
- Frequent headaches
Indications for heart ultrasound are:
- High blood pressure
- Transferred infections
- Noises in the heart
- The need to confirm / exclude defects in children
- Concomitant diseases (oncology, diabetes, for example)
- Before surgery
In addition, an ultrasound of the heart is necessary for athletes (weightlifters, marathoners, divers, people involved in extreme sports), people who pursue hobbies with cardio (such as dancing, martial arts, etc.), as well as a preventive examination every 5 years for men over 40 and women over 45 (provided there are no health problems).
There are no absolute contraindications to heart ultrasound. This study is safe for children, the elderly, pregnant women, and is even used to diagnose the fetus in the womb. But this study can be complicated by emphysema, obesity, chest deformities. It is not recommended to do heavy physical activity, take sedatives or stimulants, or drink caffeinated beverages before the test.
How the study is conducted
It is necessary to remove jewelry, undress to the waist. The patient is placed on a couch (usually a position on the left side or back). A special gel is applied to a special sensor of the device or directly to the heart area, which improves the conductivity and, accordingly, the visualization of the image. The duration of the study depends on the difficulty of obtaining the image and the presence of pathologies. During the examination, the patient can relax, because the procedure is completely painless. With the help of ultrasound of the heart, the doctor gets a complete picture of the dynamics of blood flow inside the heart, the rhythm of contraction of the heart muscle, wall thickness, pathological changes and disorders, soft tissue condition, and other characteristics. After the procedure, the remnants of the applied gel are wiped. The echocardiogram and detected abnormalities are recorded in the echocardiography protocol (conclusion). The patient can take the results of the preliminary examination (if any) to follow the dynamics.
What deviations can be set
- Atherosclerotic changes in the aorta and heart valves
- The presence of intracardiac blood clots and heart tumors
- The presence of aortic aneurysms, heart walls
- Aortic dissection
- Hypertrophy and dilation of the chambers of the heart
- Myocardial infarction, localization of the lesion
- The presence of fluid in the pericardial cavity and pleural cavities
- Lesions of the valvular apparatus of the heart
- Heart failure
- Hidden heart defects
Important to remember! Ultrasound data are not a definitive diagnosis, may require additional examinations (complete objective examination of the patient, laboratory tests, electrocardiogram, esophageal ECG-CG, stress echocardiography, MRI of the heart, etc.).