Types of echocardiograms
Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE) – This is the most commonly used type of Echocardiogram. The probe is moved around the chest to attain multiple views of the heart.
Stress Echocardiogram – This combines a standard Transthoracic Echocardiogram with an exercise test. The purpose of a Stress Echocardiogram is to analyse the hearts response and ability to function when it is pumping harder, like when you exercise.
A Stress Echocardiogram can help to assess if symptoms might be caused by an underlying heart disease and if surgical intervention might improve the heart function. A Stress Echocardiogram can also help identify potential problems with the heart valve. The Stress Echocardiogram is conducted via a treadmill.
Bubble Echocardiogram – With this type of Echo saline is injected into the bloodstream via an injection given in the arm. The saline comprises of tiny bubbles that appear on the scan results, so can be used to indicate a hole in the heart. The test is painless, aside from the injection.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) – This test is used to check on the heart’s electrical activity.
Sensor pads (electrodes) are attached to the skin around your arms, chest and legs to detect electric signals and heart rhythm. These electrodes are connected to the ECG machine by wires. An ECG is used to look further into symptoms that could indicate heart problems. These include shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain and palpitations.
While the electrodes can be sticky and the skin may be required to be shaved the test is pain-free and only lasts a few minutes. There are several different types of ECG, and the type used by your consultant will depend on the symptom and heart problem suspected. The 3 different types are:
Resting ECG – This is conducted while the patient is stationary and lying down.
Stress ECG – Carried out while the patient is on an exercise bike or treadmill. This type of ECG is prescribed when the patient reports symptoms that become noticeable during physical activity.
Ambulatory ECG (Holter monitor) – With this type of ECG the electrodes are connected to a small device attached to your waistline. The benefit with the Ambulatory ECG is that the heart can be monitored for a day or longer even when the patient is at home. It is often prescribed when symptoms are unpredictable in nature and occur randomly.
24 Hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring – This is the process of monitoring your blood pressure continuously over a 24-hour period. Twenty-four-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is a way of measuring and managing high blood pressure (hypertension). The test is highly useful as it can provide information about how changes in your blood pressure may be influenced by daily activities and sleep patterns.
There are a wide range of cases where twenty-four-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring can be useful. These can include:
- Monitoring pregnant women with hypertension.
- People who have blood pressure effects from medication.
- People with borderline hypertension.
- Fainting episodes or low BP.
During the process the patient wears a cuff on the arm that is connected to the monitoring device placed around the waist.
The process is pain-free however it is advised that the patient wears loose and wide sleeves so the cuff is able to inflate without restriction. The patient is also unable to bathe while wearing the monitor. There may be a slight tingling sensation while the cuff inflates which only lasts a few seconds.
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Echocardiogram Patients FAQs
Welcome to our FAQ section about echocardiograms! We understand that as a patient, you may have questions and concerns about this important medical procedure. That's why we have carefully selected a range of common questions that patients like you may be interested in, and provided detailed answers below. This section aims to help you find the information you need to feel confident and informed about echocardiograms. Whether you're curious about the procedure itself, what to expect during the test, or the results and their implications, we've got you covered. So, sit back, relax, and explore our FAQ section to find the answers you're looking for about echocardiograms.
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