An echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart and is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology.
It looks for the cause of abnormal heart sounds (murmurs or clicks), as well as an enlarged heart, unexplained chest pains, shortness of breath, or irregular heartbeats. The picture is much more detailed than a plain x-ray image and involves no radiation exposure.
During an echocardiogram, your doctor can calculate how much blood your heart is pumping during each heartbeat (ejection fraction). You might have a “low ejection fraction” if you have heart failure.
A Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE) Test Will:
- Check the thickness and movement of the heart wall.
- Look at the heart valves and check how well they work.
- See how well an artificial heart valve is working.
- Measure the size and shape of the heart’s chambers.
- Check the ability of your heart chambers to pump blood (cardiac performance).
- Detect a disease that affects the heart muscle and the way it pumps, such as cardiomyopathy.
- Look for blood clots and tumors inside the heart.
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