Cardiologist & Interventional Cardiologist located in Washington, DC & Silver Spring, MD
If you have symptoms of a heart condition, advanced diagnostic technology like echocardiography can help identify the cause. Board-certified cardiologist Luc Oke, MD, and his team at Heart Consultants provide extensive on-site testing facilities, including state-of-the-art echocardiogram technology at their locations in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Washington, DC. Call the office closest to you today to find out more or use the online form to book an appointment.
Echocardiogram Q & A
What is an echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram is a specialized type of ultrasound that produces a real-time view of your heart, showing the way your heart's beating and how efficiently blood is pumping. Dr. Oke uses echocardiogram technology to help diagnose symptoms of heart problems.
Echocardiogram technology works on the same principle as a standard ultrasound that shows pictures of the organs in your abdomen. The handpiece acts as a transducer, emitting high-frequency sound waves toward your heart.
When the sound waves hit the structures that make up your heart, they bounce back, creating sound echoes. The computer program then converts the echoes into data that appears as moving images of your heart.
What types of echocardiograms are there?
Dr. Oke uses several types of echocardiogram technology at Heart Consultants:
This type of echocardiogram is the most similar to a standard ultrasound. The transducer passes over the skin on your chest, using a lubricating gel to help it slide more easily.
You might need an injection of dye or a contrast agent into your vein to make the images clearer if your ribs or lungs are blocking the view of your heart.
A transesophageal echocardiogram involves the use of an internal ultrasound transducer. Dr. Oke passes the wand-shaped transducer down your esophagus until it's close to your heart.
Transesophageal echocardiogram technology might be better if you’re obese or have lung problems, or if there's scar tissue present from heart surgery. In these cases, a transthoracic echocardiogram might not be clear enough.
Doppler echocardiogram allows Dr. Oke to assess the direction and flow rate of your blood. Doppler technology measures changes in the pitch of the sound waves as they bounce off blood cells in your veins, arteries, and heart.
A standard echocardiogram might not detect the cause of your symptoms if you aren't experiencing them during the test. In this situation, a stress echocardiogram might be necessary.
This procedure requires you to raise your heart rate by exercising. The test takes place while you're connected to the echocardiogram machine, which is better able to detect heart abnormalities when your heart beats faster.
What do the echocardiogram results show?
Echocardiogram results might show you have a heart condition, such as:
- Enlarged heart chambers
- Thickening heart walls
- Valve dysfunction
- Heart chamber abnormalities
- Inadequate pumping
- Heart muscle damage
- Complex congenital heart defects
Echocardiogram technology can also pinpoint faulty connections between the major blood vessels and your heart.
Using the information from your echocardiogram, Dr. Oke can determine the cause of your symptoms and create the optimal treatment program for you.
If you're suffering from symptoms that might be due to heart problems, call Heart Consultants today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.