An echocardiogram (ECHO) is an ultrasound of the heart. Ultrasound is a safe, painless method of taking images or pictures of the heart. A technologist places a probe on the chest wall and records multiple views of the heart to be interpreted by a cardiologist.
The echocardiogram allows the cardiologist to evaluate and measure the size of the chambers, thickness and pumping strength of heart muscle. It also allows measurement of blood flow through the valves, and different chambers of the heart. This allows the cardiologist to determine whether or not the valves have tightness (stenosis) or leakiness (regurgitation) and evaluate the severity of malfunction (if any).
Your physician may order a stress echocardiogram to determine how well your heart tolerates activity, determine your likelihood of having coronary artery disease, or evaluate the effectiveness of your cardiac treatment plan. With the cardiologist present you will either walk/run on the treadmill or be given medications to have your heart rate rise. Additional images with ultrasound will be obtained after your heart rate reaches the desired heart rate.
Both a regular Ultrasound Echocardiogram and Stress Echocardiogram can be performed here at Five Rivers Medical Center. A Physician from St. Bernards Heart and Vascular (formerly Cardiology Associates of Northeast Arkansas) is here several days during the month to allow for ease in scheduling of the Stress Echocardiograms. If you are in need of either type of Echocardiogram, ask your Doctor about sending you to FRMC to have it done. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Radiology Department directly at 870-892-6233. This number can also be called at the time of scheduling.
This article was written and submitted by Becky Brown, Radiology Director