Sometimes, images of the heart itself prove invaluable to the diagnosis of its condition and overall health. Dr. Alberto Morales and the team at South Tampa Cardiology in Tampa, Florida, use a specialized ultrasound technique, called an echocardiogram, to learn more about your heart. For the finest in cardiac care in the Tampa Bay region, contact South Tampa Cardiology.
Also called a cardiac ultrasound, an echocardiogram uses sound waves and their reflection, or echo, to form images of the heart, the blood vessels surrounding the heart, and the various parts that make up the heart, including valves, chambers, and walls. The technique works in much the same way ultrasounds form images of babies in their mother’s wombs prior to birth. These sound waves and their reflections are converted into images by computer so the heart’s structure and performance may be evaluated.
A standard Two-Dimensional (2D) and doppler echocardiography is non-invasive, as the transducer sends waves through the chest. We use this technology often as it can provide a wealth of information in a non-invasive way with no risks or side effects. In addition to 2D and Doppler Echocardiography, we offer advanced three-dimensional (3D) echocardiography and Speckle-tracking, which offer improved accuracy in the evaluation of cardiac chamber volumes and quantitative evaluation of global and regional myocardial function. Echocardiography can be added to stress testing (treadmill or pharmacologic) for improved diagnostic accuracy for detection of obstructive coronary artery disease.
In some cases, a special device gives clearer images closer to your heart. This is called a transesophageal echocardiogram, or TEE, and it requires swallowing a probe.
Images created from echocardiograms give Dr. Morales a clear view of many aspects of your heart’s health.
There’s no special preparation prior to the test. You can eat and drink normally.
Dr. Morales will advise you if you need to temporarily discontinue any medication ahead of the test.
The test itself typically takes about an hour.
You’ll lie on an exam table in a darkened room that permits better viewing of the echocardiogram screen. Electrodes for an echocardiogram are placed on your chest to track your heartbeat through the procedure.
A gel is placed on your chest to assure the best imaging with the echocardiogram’s transducer.
You may be asked to hold your breath or move your chest at times for clearer images.
Once the procedure is done, the gel is removed and you can return to your day.
There are no risks or side effects. If a transesophageal echocardiogram is performed and a TEE is swallowed, it may irritate your throat for a short time.
South Tampa Cardiology works with a variety of insurance providers. If you don't happen to see yours listed, please call our office to speak with one of our knowledgable staff members.