Gwinnett Medical Center uses echocardiograms to listen to the sound waves of the heart. These high-pitched waves create echoes as they bounce off different parts of the heart. They are recorded as moving pictures and can be used to detect heart murmurs, blood clots, heart valve disease and more.
Types of Echocardiograms
There are several types of echocardiograms Gwinnett Medical Center’s Strickland Heart Center uses to help detect cardiac problems:
- Transthoracic echocardiogram—Painless and standard, this type of echocardiogram uses a hand-held device called a transducer. The transducer emits high-pitched waves that bounce off the parts of the heart and transmit images and sounds back to the cardio nurse or technician.
- Transesophageal echocardiogram—Using a transducer placed inside the esophagus, this type of echocardiogram allows for clearer pictures of the heart to be transmitted back to doctors without interference from the lungs and chest.
- Stress echocardiogram—Usually performed while a patient is on a treadmill, this type of echocardiogram is used to show the motion of the heart’s walls, as well as how the heart pumps.
- Dobutamine stress echocardiogram—This type of echocardiogram utilizes a special medication called dobutamine. Essentially, this medication stimulates your heart so that it appears that you are exercising.
- Intravascular ultrasound—To perform this type of echocardiogram, a transducer must be threaded into a patient’s heart using a cardiac catheterization. By placing a thin plastic tube into an artery or vein in the arm or leg, this echocardiogram can be used to determine whether a person has a blood clot or narrowed blood vessels.
Find a cardiologist now, or call 678-312-5000 for a physician referral.