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How is an Echocardiogram used to Detect Irregular Heartbeat?

An echocardiogram utilizes sound waves that produce images of the heart. It is a common medical test used by Phoenix cardiologists to detect how the heart is functioning. Doctors use images from echocardiograms to diagnose heart abnormalities and how to treat them. There are several different types of echocardiograms used for a variety of diagnostic and treatment purposes.

Arizona cardiologists will typically suggest an echocardiogram if they suspect health issues with an individual’s heart chambers and/or valves. The test is also effective at detecting congenital heart defects in unborn babies. Below we look at the different types of echocardiograms and how they are used to detect potential heart issues.

Transthoracic Echocardiogram – this is the most commonly used echocardiogram. The test is performed by a sonographer. The technician spreads gel on the area then uses a transducer to produce sound waves that end up as images.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram – this is a more invasive form of echocardiogram used if a transthoracic echocardiogram cannot produce effective images. During this procedure, flexible tubing is sent down the throat into the esophagus to create images. During this procedure the throat is numbed and medication is given.

Stress Echocardiogram – there are some heart issues that only arise during times of increased physical activity. For these types of issues, a stress echocardiogram is used. The individual walks/jogs on a treadmill or rides a stationary bike, which leads to an increased heartbeat. During this activity the cardiologist in Mesa AZ monitors the heart for potential problems with irregular heartbeat.

Potential Risks/How to Prepare

There are very little risks associated with an echocardiogram. There can be some discomfort when the electrodes are removed caused by the bandages Individuals who undergo a transesophageal echocardiogram may feel discomfort in the throat for a few hours after the test.

Depending on the test and circumstances, a doctor may require the patient avoid food for 2-3 hours prior to the test. This is common for those undergoing a stress or transesophageal echocardiogram. In most instances there is no preparation required.

Echocardiograms are completed in a doctor’s office or hospital. At most, they take up to an hour. If the echocardiogram comes back normal there may be no further testing required. If results are inconclusive or concerning, the individual may be referred to a heart specialist for further testing. Information from the echocardiogram can provide important information regarding heart size, pumping ability, damage to the heart muscles, valve problems and heart defects.

AZ Heart Doctor is the Valley’s premier noninterventional cardiologist. The office offers comprehensive services with a Double Board Certified Phoenix cardiologist, Dr. Yasir Batres. If you or a loved one is suffering from a heart disorder, call the office at (480) 300-4646 today. Most insurance accepted!

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