An Echocardiography is actually the Ultrasound of the Heart, this ultrasound produces sound waves and one can have moving picture of the heart. This procedure does not involve any radiations and it gives more detail than a X-ray. It is a good diagnostic tool for Valvular heart diseases, evaluating pumping function of the heart, i.e ejection fraction in heart attack patients. It is also a good screening test for certain heart diseases. However, to diagnose some cardiac diseases, one should have an echocardiography test.
The following diseased patients must have an echocardiography. These are the situations in which an echo may influence the clinical management of a patient.
Assessment of valve function, e.g systolic or diastolic murmurs
Assessment of left ventricular function, systolic diastolic and regional wall motions, e.g heart failure in a patient with breathlessness, or preoperative assessment.
Pericardial Disease (e.g Pericarditis ) or pericardial effusion, especially if clinical evidence of temponade
Complications of myocardial Infarction, eg MR VSD or pericardial effusion.
Suspicion of intracardiac masses- tumour or thrombus
Cardiac chamber size e.g Left atrial size in atrial fibrillation (AF), Cardiomegaly in chest X-ray.
Assessment of artificial valve function.
Arrhythmias, e.g Atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia (VT)
Assessment of right ventricle and right heart
Estimation of intracardiac and vascular pressures, e.g pulmonary artery systolic pressures in lung disease and pulmonary hypertension
To find out cardiac source of embolism in stroke and transient ischaemic attack patients.
Exclusion of left ventricular hypertrophy in hypertension
Assessment of congenital heart diseases.
These abnormalities are just few and most common that an echo can reveal. For details you may contact your doctor.