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Stress echocardiography

Cardiac stress determination or stress echo is done to investigate underlying coronary artery disease. It helps determine blood flow and the pumping rate of the heart. The preliminary tests performed before stress echocardiography include the assessment of ventricular function, wall motion thickness and aortic root. These tests indicate cardiac conditions along with ischemic heart disease and other cardiac conditions. Stress echocardiography is recommended over pharmacological assessment, because of its advantage in describing the cardiac performance during the test through images. Pictures are taken of your heart before and after exercise to check the efficiency of the heart.

Stress echocardiography is carried out on a treadmill or by a bicycle in a supine position. A work load of 25W is given initially with subsequent rise in intensity. Stress echocardiography also determines the aerobic capacity. The use of bicycle exercise has an advantage as it gives the Doppler information of the test. This provides information about the blood flood through the heart's pumping chambers and valves. Stress echocardiography has been extensively used in the risk evaluation for coronary artery disease even in patients who are asymptomatic. The usual protocol followed for the test is fasting for at least three hours before the test is performed.


Before commencing the stress test, your blood pressure and electrocardiogram (EKG) is also done. The stress echo is taken during the rest phase, stress phase and a repeat when the heart is still beating fast. Pregnant women are not advised to undergo this test. You will be connected to an ECG monitor to record the heart activity through small electrodes. Stress echocardiography is beneficial for physicians to determine the treatment options for asymptomatic conditions pertaining to coronary artery disease. It also aids the detection of angina or chest pain in the patients and also conditions like cardiomegaly and myocardial infarction.

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.


Ultrasound

Ultrasonography is a medical imaging technique that is also called ultrasound scanning or sonography. High frequency sound waves and their echoes and used in this technique for obtaining images from inside the human body. The echoes of sound waves reflected from the human body are recorded and displayed as a real-time visual image. This technique is similar to the echo location used by bats, whales and dolphins. The sonar used by submarines also operates the same technique. Ultrasound is useful method to examine many of the body's internal organs like heart, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and bladder.

Movement of the internal tissues and organs are captured in ultrasound. Ultrasonography enables the physicians to diagnose a variety of disease conditions and also assess the damage caused to the systems. The ultrasound machine transmits high frequency sound pulses into the human body by using probes. These sound waves that travel into the body hit a boundary between the tissues inside the body and reflect the sound waves to the probe. Some waves travel even further and they reach another boundary and then get reflected back. The waves that are reflected are picked up by the probe and relayed back into the ultrasound machine.

The ultrasound machine in turn calculates the distance from the probe to the tissue or organ by using the speed of sound tissue and the time of each echo's return. The machine displays these distances and intensities of the echoes on the screen. Through the echoes that are produced the sonologist can identify how far away an object is, how large it is, its shape and consistency (fluid, solid or mixed). Two dimensional images are formed and reflected on the screen. Different types of ultrasound are used for different disease conditions. Ultrasound is used in a variety of clinical settings including obstetrics and gynecology, cardiology and cancer detection.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: March 23, 2019