Updated: Apr 30, 2019
Echo or Echo cardiogram is a non-invasive procedure that shows a 2D or 3D imaging of the pumping heart. It does this by emitting high frequency sound waves that penetrate deep and create moving pictures whereby an experienced cardiologist can analyze the heart function, cardiac muscle, the valves to detect any abnormalities.
Ultrasound waves are delivered through the tissues and the reflected waves are captured back through a probe called transducers, which are then transformed into screen view form.
Historically this science was deployed to find sunken ships in deep sea bed.
Echo cardiogram, unlike X-ray, is not harmful and can be repeated any number of times.
Can your doctor diagnose valve diseases by Echo ?
Yes, valve blockages, valve leaks, valve damages and severity of damages - all can be diagnosed by echo cardiogram.
Any weakness of cardiac muscles also can be diagnosed by echo cardiogram.
Any birth defects can be diagnosed by echo cardiogram.
Further decisions for surgery and the timing for surgery can be made by your doctor using echo.
Damages done by heart attack, high Blood Pressure, Diabetes etc can be diagnosed by echo.
What cannot be seen in Echo?
Blocks of Coronary Arteries, which is called Coronary artery disease, that causes heart attacks, cannot be seen by Echo.
How Can the blocks in Coronary Arteries be diagnosed?
Blocks, also called Stenosis, can be diagnosed by ECG and Exercise ECG (called Stress test or TMT).
Resting ECG can diagnose heart attacks ,the result of total block in coronary arteries, whereas, lesser degrees of block that can bring about heart attacks or cause chest pain (called Angina) are picked up by TMT. In TMT, the heart is continuously monitored by ECG during graduated increases in exercise. When the heart demand for more oxygen and nutrients, increases during exercise and the supply of oxygen and nutrients through the coronary arteries is compromised, changes appear in ECG. At that stage the exercise is halted, and your doctor declares TMT test to be positive.
How can your Doctor see the Blocks in Coronaries?
When the TMT stress test is positive, the doctor may start specific prophylactic treatments to avert attack and may advice for a Coronary Angiogram.
Coronary Angiogram is a procedure wherein dye is injected inside the coronary arteries and seen directly in dynamic form.
Licensed doctors for Coronary Angiograms tend to treat blocked arteries by Coronary Angioplasty and carry out interventions at catheterization labs in different hospitals. The images on the left and video below depicts successful angioplasties.
Dr Aboobacker N Kunnil (MRCP Ireland) is a Senior Consultant Interventional Cardiologist with 30 years experience in the field of Cardiology. He is currently MD of Al Arif Heart and Children Medical Center. His cardiology practice is also attached to other hospitals nearby for interventional procedures and admissions.
This information is brought to you by Specialized doctors in Al Arif Heart and Children Medical Center, Al Mujarrah, Sharjah, UAE. Keep yourselves fit as a fiddle.