Diagnostic tests using echocardiography, or cardiac ultrasound, evaluate heart valves, heart size and heart muscle function. These studies are important for accurate diagnosis of heart conditions.
Echocardiography is one of many diagnostic technologies at the Pilla Heart Center of Abington Health’s Heart & Vascular Institute.
Creating an Echocardiogram
Each study using this technology, called an echocardiogram, takes about 20 to 25 minutes in a quiet room. High-frequency sound waves create images of the heart valves opening and closing, showing how the blood flows through the heart chambers. Heart size and efficiency can also be evaluated.
Types of Echocardiograms
A transthoracic echocardiogram, or TTE, is a non-invasive test. It uses color-flow Doppler cardiac ultrasound to create a moving picture of the heart and its functioning. TTE is more detailed than an x-ray image and involves no radiation exposure.
A TEE, or transesophageal echocardiogram, produces a highly detailed image by placing an ultrasound probe in the esophagus, behind the heart. Used to identify valve disease or blood clots, this test is conducted under sedation.