An echocardiogram is one of the ultrasound tests performed to check heart function. It allows your doctor to check for problems affecting the valves or chambers of your heart. The goal is to discover the cause of symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain.

Stress Echocardiogram

A stress echocardiogram is performed to evaluate the function of your heart and blood vessels while under stress. During this ultrasound test in San Diego, you will exercise on a treadmill, and your heart rhythm and blood pressure will be monitored. Once your heart rate has reached a predetermined level, ultrasound images are taken of your heart to determine if it is getting sufficient blood and oxygen during exercise.

This test may be performed if you suffer from chest pain that could indicate the presence of coronary artery disease or a heart attack. It may also be performed to evaluate the success of a procedure such as bypass surgery, an angioplasty, or how well your heart medications are working.

Patient receiving ultrasound on their neck

Carotid Ultrasound

The carotid arteries are on each side of your neck. These arteries deliver blood from the heart to the brain. A carotid ultrasound is performed to identify blocked or narrowed carotid arteries, which may pose a risk of stroke. It is a safe and pain-free test that involves putting a special gel on the area and moving the ultrasound device over your skin, which emits sound energy that creates images of the arteries and the blood moving through them. These arteries may be narrowed due to the buildup of plaque.

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Lower Extremity Venous Ultrasound

Your legs are the most distant limbs from your heart, and the veins in the legs can be prone to blood pooling due to the valves within the veins failing to halt the backflow of blood.

A lower extremity venous ultrasound can be performed to identify blood clots that may form in your lower extremities, called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or detect peripheral arterial disease.

This is a painless, non-invasive ultrasound test in San Diego, that involves applying a gel to the legs and running the ultrasound device over the area.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram

This ultrasound test is used to evaluate the structure and function of the heart. It provides a very accurate picture of the structure, as it involves inserting a probe down the esophagus, which improves accuracy as the sound waves emitted by the device do not have to pass through your skin, muscle tissue, and bone.

The waves bounce off the heart structure, creating an “echo,” which translates into images your heart doctor can use in diagnosing a condition.

This test may be necessary for people who have a large amount of excess weight or a lung condition that makes it more difficult to get a good image through the surface of the skin. This test may be performed to diagnose mitral valve disorders, blood clots, damage to the aorta, clogged arteries, enlarged heart, congenital heart disease, heart failure, an aneurysm, a range of other heart diseases and conditions, or to evaluate how an artificial heart valve is functioning. A local anesthetic is administered to the back of your throat to make the procedure more comfortable.

Why Choose San Diego Cardiac Center for Your Ultrasound Testing?

During your ultrasound tests at San Diego Cardiac Center, you will be under the care of our compassionate heart specialists and our team of support staff. We are committed to ensuring your testing procedures are comfortable. We are equipped with the most advanced technologies for diagnostic testing and offer a range of innovative treatments. We are often the first clinic to offer new, groundbreaking treatments as a result of our clinical research.

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Echocardiogram FAQs:

Is an echocardiogram safe?

Yes, echocardiograms are considered safe and non-invasive, as they do not involve radiation or exposure to harmful substances. They are routinely performed by healthcare professionals to evaluate heart function and diagnose heart conditions.

Are there different types of echocardiograms?

Yes, there are several types of echocardiograms, including transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE), which is the most common and is performed by placing the transducer on the chest. Other types include transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE), stress echocardiogram, and Doppler echocardiogram, each with specific indications and techniques.

Can an echocardiogram detect all heart problems?

While echocardiograms are valuable diagnostic tools, they may not detect every heart problem, particularly if the condition is minor or does not affect the structures visible on the ultrasound images. Additional tests or imaging studies may be needed for a comprehensive evaluation.

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