Ultrasound / Echocardiogram
This is a noninvasive test that uses sound waves to produce a study of the motion of the heart’s chambers and valves, as well as the flow of blood inside the heart. It is also used to detect fluid around the heart. Images are obtained by passing an ultrasound transducer over the chest area overlying the heart.
An echocardiogram may either be done alone or in association with a stress test. There is no need for any particular preparation. The study takes from 30 to 60 minutes. The data is reviewed by your physicians and recommendations are made based on your clinical presentation and the indication for the test.
The test is very good at detecting valvular problems, either leakage or narrowing, as well as determining if any particular areas of the heart muscle have suffered a heart attack or are simply not working properly due to a blockage in the artery supplying that area of the heart.
By detecting radiation from different parts of the body following the administration of a radioactive tracer material, images of internal organs are produced. Other imaging techniques are able to show how organs appear, but nuclear imaging is able to evaluate how organs function. It is a safe procedure with no side effects.
A special camera is used to scan the body and take a number of pictures. Connected to the camera is a computer which detects the radiation from the specific body area being examined. A series of images are formed based on this information. This technique measures the biochemistry and physiology of the heart muscle and is used to assess the overall condition of the heart.