In the world of cardiac diagnostic assessments, there is a large variety of tests that give your cardiologist important information about your heart’s health. Each assessment is preferred for different reasons and can provide specific information about a patient’s heart health. The echocardiogram is one of those very commonly used assessments.
If you’re unfamiliar, the echocardiogram uses ultrasound waves to produce images of your heart so they can determine the size of your heart, how well the muscles move, and how easily blood flows through your valves and arteries. The technician giving the test places a handheld device called a transducer on the chest of the patient. The transducer sends high-frequency sound waves into the chest that bounce back (or echo) and are then measured by the device and used to create a picture. Echocardiography is not only highly effective, but it is also completely outpatient. But what exactly does the test do?

What It Can Do
The echocardiogram is an easy and non-invasive tool for assessing the overall function of the heart’s structure. This includes the muscle itself, as well as the arteries and valves. This technology allows your cardiologist to not only diagnose various types of heart disease but to track the progression of your disease over time.

What It Cannot Do
Unlike some cardiac outpatient procedures, an echocardiogram cannot repair any of the issues that it detects. As the classification diagnostic assessment indicates echocardiography is only used to diagnose heart disease. Once that occurs your cardiologist can, if necessary, recommend a surgical procedure, lifestyle changes, or medication to treat heart disease.

Ultrasound technology is powerful and safe making echocardiography a great option for patients of all ages, including children, and all levels of health. And, just like any other cardiac procedure, it has its benefits and its limitations. As a patient is important to strike a balance between trusting your cardiologist and being an informed and critically thinking patient. So, as tests and surgical procedures are ordered for you or a loved one, be sure to do your research so you know what kinds of questions to ask before the procedure takes place.

At Cardiovascular Associates of Lake County, we are happy to engage our patients and their loved ones in open dialogue about their treatment options to ensure we’re all on the same page regarding the course of action. If you have yet to find a cardiologist and are looking for a team you can trust, contact us today.