Purpose of the procedure
The purpose of Noninvasive Cardiovascular Sonography, also known as echocardiography, is to diagnose and monitor a variety of cardiovascular conditions.
Some of the main conditions this procedure can diagnose include:
- Heart valve problems, such as leaky or narrowed valves
- Heart muscle disorders, such as cardiomyopathy or heart failure
- Congenital heart defects, which are present at birth
- Blood flow problems, such as blood clots or emboli
- Pericardial effusion, which is an abnormal collection of fluid around the heart
- Aortic aneurysm, which is a bulging in the main blood vessel leading from the heart
- Heart rhythm disorders, such as atrial fibrillation
Noninvasive Cardiovascular Sonography is also used to evaluate the heart’s function, such as its pumping ability, and to assess the blood flow through the heart and major blood vessels. This test can also be used to monitor the progression of a previously diagnosed cardiovascular condition or the effectiveness of treatment.
Patients will be given specific instructions on how to prepare for Noninvasive Cardiovascular Sonography, which may include the following:
- Medications: The patient may be asked to stop certain medications before the test, such as blood thinners. They should inform the healthcare provider of any medications they are currently taking and if they have any allergies or medical conditions that may affect the procedure.
- Diet: The patient may be asked to fast for a period of time before the procedure, typically for 4-6 hours. They should also avoid caffeine and tobacco before the test.
- Clothing: The patient should wear comfortable and loose clothing, as they will be asked to remove any clothing or jewelry that may interfere with the test.
- Other important information: The patient should inform the healthcare provider of any recent illnesses or surgeries, as well as any allergies or other medical conditions. They should also let the healthcare provider know if they are pregnant or suspect they may be pregnant.
It is important for patients to follow all preparation instructions and to inform their healthcare provider of any concerns prior to the procedure.
During Noninvasive Cardiovascular Sonography, also known as echocardiography, the patient will be asked to lie on a bed or exam table by noninvasive cardiovascular sonographer. A gel will be applied to the chest area, and a transducer will be moved over the chest to create images of the heart.
The procedure typically takes 30-60 minutes, and the patient will be able to return to normal activities immediately after the test. The procedure is generally painless and noninvasive, but there may be some discomfort or slight pressure from the transducer.
The healthcare provider will review the images and provide the patient with results and any necessary follow-up instructions.
There are two main types of echocardiography:
- Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE): This is the most common type of echocardiography. The transducer is placed on the chest, and the sound waves travel through the chest wall to create images of the heart.
- Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE): In this procedure, the transducer is placed down the patient’s throat, which allows the healthcare provider to see the heart and major blood vessels more clearly. This procedure is typically used when TTE images are unclear or when a more detailed view of the heart is needed.
Both types of echocardiography are noninvasive and do not involve any radiation.
It’s important to note that for Transesophageal echocardiography, the patient will be given a sedative to help them relax during the procedure, and will be awake during the procedure but will not be able to speak or swallow.
Noninvasive Cardiovascular Sonography, also known as echocardiography, is a safe and effective way to diagnose and monitor a variety of cardiovascular conditions. The procedure is noninvasive and does not involve any radiation.
It is important for patients to follow the preparation instructions given by their noninvasive cardiovascular sonographer provider and to inform them of any concerns prior to the procedure. The procedure typically takes 30-60 minutes and the patient can return to normal activities immediately after the test. The healthcare provider will review the images and provide the patient with results and any necessary follow-up instructions. If there are any abnormalities found, the healthcare provider will discuss the next steps and any necessary treatment with the patient. It’s important to note that the procedure may vary depending on the type of echocardiography the patient is undergoing. Transthoracic echocardiography is the most common type, while Transesophageal echocardiography is used when a more detailed view of the heart is needed.