Echocardiogram technology is adaptable to a variety of specific situations that aid in the diagnosis of heart and vascular disorders. Henock Saint-Jacques, MD, FACC, is a highly experienced heart specialist at Harlem Cardiology on Madison Avenue in New York City who uses a range of echocardiogram technologies to provide the most accurate diagnosis in the shortest possible time. To learn more about echocardiograms, call the East Harlem office or book an appointment online today.
An echocardiogram, or echo, is a type of ultrasound that produces images showing your heart beating and how well it’s pumping blood. Dr. Saint-Jacques uses these images, or sonograms, to help him diagnose heart disease.
There are several different types of echocardiogram, such as:
A transthoracic echocardiogram is similar to a standard ultrasound, where a transducer moving over your skin sends the echoes from the sound waves to a computer that converts them to identifiable images. If your lungs or ribs are restricting the echocardiogram, you might have to have an intravenous injection of enhancing agent to make the images of your heart clearer.
A transesophageal echocardiogram uses an internal ultrasound transducer that Dr. Saint-Jacques passes down your throat and into your esophagus. It’s useful for patients who have conditions that make using transthoracic echocardiogram problematic, such as obesity, scar tissue from heart surgery, or lung problems.
Doppler signals are the changes in the pitch of sound waves as they bounce off blood cells in your heart and blood vessels. Doppler echocardiogram helps Dr. Saint-Jacques measure the direction and rate of blood flow.
Some heart problems only show up during exercise, so a stress echocardiogram might be necessary, particularly for diagnosing coronary artery problems. During a stress echocardiogram, you exercise on a treadmill or stationary bicycle at increasing intensity until you reach a target Dr. Saint-Jacques sets or you’re unable to continue.
If you have any problems with your heart function, the echocardiogram allows Dr. Saint-Jacques to identify them so you can start on an appropriate treatment plan. Problems that echocardiograms commonly detect include:
An echocardiogram can also highlight abnormalities in your heart chambers, complex congenital heart defects, and faulty connections between your major blood vessels and heart.
If you’re concerned about your heart or experiencing symptoms that could indicate heart problems, call Harlem Cardiology on Madison Avenue or book an appointment online today