Echo (ultrasound) Lab
The information obtained from these monitoring tests help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that is right for you. All tests are available on an outpatient basis.
An echocardiogram (echo) is a test that uses ultrasound waves to examine the heart. During the test, a small microphone-like device called a transducer is held against the chest, producing images of the heart that are displayed on a screen. An echo test may be used to measure the size of the heart and heart muscle, determine pumping strength, discover valve problems and to detect blood clots and fluid around the heart.
There are several types of echocardiograms:
This type of echo test examines the heart by using ultrasound waves that emit from inside the esophagus. Because the esophagus is located just behind the heart, the images provided are often much clearer than are possible with a standard echocardiogram. After administering an anesthetic to the throat and a low dose sedative by IV, a long flexible tube is inserted into the mouth and down the esophagus. A small transducer at the tip of the probe emits ultrasound waves that convert into moving images of the heart. A transesophageal echo is generally performed when doctors want to examine hard-to-see structures of the heart and to detect masses, valve infections and defects tears in the aorta or to examine prosthetic heart valves. In cases of obesity or chronic lung disease, this type of testing enables a clear view of the flow of blood through the heart chambers and valves that is not possible using other types of ultrasound testing.