You must have seen an ultrasound before: Whether it was being performed on a pregnant mother or as an image. Ultrasounds are very common medical tests. An ultrasound of the heart is known as an echocardiogram. An echocardiogram is a test that is used to asses the mechanical functions of the heart as opposed to an electrocardiogram that looks at the electrical function. Most of the time, your doctor will request for both an echocardiogram and an ECG in order to correlate the mechanical activity of your heart with the electrical activity.
The mechanical activities of your heart can be divided into activities involving the tissue structures of the heart; that is the heart muscles and the heart valves and the flow of blood within the heart chambers, valves and vessels.
How does an Echocardiogram work?
The details of how and echocardiogram works are a complicated set of scientific phenomena that have been perfected and fine-tuned over time to produce one of the most important investigations for your heart and blood vessels. Just like an ultrasound, an echo uses high frequency sound waves that are reflected off organs and turned into images to look at the tissue structure of your heart. A doppler analysis on the other hand scatters sound waves from moving blood cells and is able to determine if the blood is flowing smoothly or there is an obstruction.
Based on these principles, an echo can be used to diagnose a wide range of diseases affecting your cardiovascular system. It can be able to pick out if any part of your heart is not contracting well to pump out blood. It can also be used to determine the amount of blood entering and leaving your heart and calculate the adequacy of that volume. One of the most common heart problems picked by echocardiography here at Kisumu heart center are valve dysfunctions which can be life threatening if not picked early enough. It is also used in determining blood pressure in the heart and lungs
Frequently Asked Questions
Due to the shortage of these advanced medical equipment in our country, not enough trained and qualified medical doctors and other health workers are conversant with the technical knowledge and skill required to operate an echo machine. However, here at Kisumu Heart Center we endeavor to equip all our junior doctors as well as those within the region with this important skill.
The procedure is non invasive and completely painless. After our nurses have adequately prepared you for the procedure, a lubricated prob will be applied along your chest and around your heart as the image of your heart is displayed on a monitor. The doctor will take images and the machine can also record a video of your beating heart as blood flows through its chambers. The machine gives calculations on the effectiveness of your heart’s contractions and the flow of blood.
The machine also has specialized probes that can be used to observe the flow of blood along your vessels. Depending on the clinical presentation, the procedure takes about 10 to 20 minutes.
Unlike X-rays and CT scans, an echocardiogram does not produce any radiation that can destroy your heart or harm any organs in your body. It is completely safe to use and does not have any side effects.
It is important to consult a doctor if you have any signs and symptoms of disease. At the Kisumu heart center, we offer holistic services ranging from consultation, diagnostic tests to drug dispensation and inpatient services. We therefore urge all our clients to consult with our cardiovascular specialists incase of symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations, difficulty in breathing etc. which may indicate a serious heart problem for which an echo may be required.
At Kisumu Heart Center, patient health comes first. We believe that financial constraints shouldn’t be a barrier to accessing quality health care. For more information on our affordable prices on this and other services, contact us at email@example.com or on phone number 0731555212 or BOOK APPOINTMENT. You can also visit our Kisumu office