Using Ultrasound Waves to Examine Your Heart
Mercy Health Saint Mary's, Mercy Health Muskegon and West Shore Cardiology have all achieved accreditation for echocardiography by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission.
What is an echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram, or "echo" for short, is a non-invasive test that uses ultrasound waves to examine the heart. A small microphone-like device is used to send sound waves to and from the heart to give a picture of the muscle, valves and blood flow.
- Transthoracic Echocardiogram – A specific type of echocardiogram that takes place using ultrasound waves through the chest wall.
- Transesophageal Echocardiogram (Adult Only) – A transesophageal echocardiogram creates an ultrasound picture of a patient's heart, just as an echocardiogram does. The only difference is that the camera is placed in the patient's esophagus, allowing more detailed results since the esophagus is right next to the heart.
Echocardiograms are ideal for finding abnormal heart structures, stiff or leaky valves, heart attack damage, oxygen shortages, high blood pressure and fluid buildup. No patient preparations are required for this test and the procedure lasts approximately 45-60 minutes.
You may benefit from an echocardiogram if you've experienced:
- Unexplained chest or upper arm pain
- A heart murmur
- A heart defect
- A history of heart disease in your family