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Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram is a diagnostic test that gives the doctor an idea of how the heart appears in motion. An echo uses ultrasound waves to pick up echoes from different parts of your heart. An echocardiogram throws light on the size of the heart and the condition of the heart valves. The pumping capacity of the heart is determined with an echocardiogram. Any damage to heart muscles or valves can be diagnosed with an echocardiogram. An echocardiogram is helpful in detecting any structural problems of the heart, its chambers or blood vessels surrounding it. An echocardiogram is used to detect any blood clots within the heart. This diagnostic test is used to check for causes of irregular heartbeats, enlarged heart or heart murmurs. The functioning of the heart after an attack can be checked with an echocardiogram.


Trans thoracic echocardiogram is the standard cardiogram where the doctor monitors sound wave echoes that bounce off the heart and other internal structures.

Doppler echocardiogram is based on Doppler signals that change pitch when they bounce off the heart and blood vessels. This feature is often part of other cardiogram procedures.

Stress echocardiogram is taken when a patient is undergoing a treadmill stress test.

Trans esophageal echocardiogram involves passing a probe through the throat into the chest wall. The transducer then shows clear images of the heart. This type of echocardiogram can be uncomfortable and is often performed under sedative. Trans esophageal echocardiogram is also used during surgery to monitor the heart function. Abnormal blood flow between the heart's chambers can be detected.

MUGA scan

MUGA - Multiple Gated Acquisition scan is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that is used to assess the heart's functioning with moving images. MUGA scan uses a radioactive substance Technetium 99. It is injected to the patient's bloodstream where it is attaches to red blood cells. A gamma camera is used to detect low-level radiation given off by these red blood cells. The MUGA scan helps in determining the condition of the heart and its functioning of the cardiac ventricles.


This nuclear heart scan follows the movement of the technetium through the blood. Images are recorded for later analysis. An important pointer to the cardiac efficiency is the LVEF (Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction). The MUGA scan is preferred over other diagnostic tests such as echocardiogram as it is highly accurate and non-invasive. MUGA scan is also called cardiac blood pool imagine or equilibrium radionuclide angiography. Sometimes stress MUGA scan and rest MUGA scan are taken and analyzed. This is best done under the guidance of a cardiologist. MUGA scan aids in checking a person's heart function after chemotherapy.


Aortic Stenosis

Aortic Stenosis is a condition where the aortic valve of the heart becomes narrowed. This leads to obstructed blood flow to the aorta from the left ventricle. Aortic Stenosis is more common among men. Elderly persons are likely to face this heart valve disease. When the narrowing of the aortic valve is to a small extent, the patient does not feel any discomfort or other symptoms. But when there is significant reduction in the valve area, it leads to decrease in cardiac output and may result in heart failure. Aortic valve stenosis must not be ignored as it systematically weakens the heart. It forces the left ventricle to work harder.


Aortic Stenosis is often caused by rheumatic fever, calcification of the valve, coronary artery disease or heart murmur. Symptoms of aortic stenosis include chest pain (angina), shortness of breath and fainting spells. They occur due to the heart muscle's inability to cope up with the extreme pressure load laid by Aortic stenosis. Patients suffering from aortic stenosis are likely to feel palpitations, dizziness and chest pain on exertion.


Enlargement of the left ventricle or Aortic stenosis can be diagnosed with the aid of Doppler ultrasound, echocardiogram, chest x-ray and trans esophageal echocardiogram. The physician will be able to notice arrhythmia and enlargement of left ventricle. Diuretics are prescribed to reduce high lung pressure. Blood thinners are used to prevent blood clots from being formed on the surface of the heart valves. Replacement of aortic valves is done in severe cases of valvular failure. Balloon valvuloplasty is a surgical procedure similar to balloon Angiography where a balloon is placed in an artery and later inflated to relieve obstruction.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: August 24, 2019