As we continue to age, we will find that health problems will begin to arise and need to be addressed by a doctor. If these issues are mainly in the chest area, additional tests may be conducted. One of these tests is an Echocardiogram. An Echocardiogram (ECHO) is a special non-invasive office ultrasound examination that determines the health of the heart by evaluating both its anatomy and function.
Before you get nervous, please understand not everyone will need a test like this. Who should have an Echocardiogram? Individuals of any age who have any of the following should expect to have one of these tests done in their lifetime:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Heart murmur or other abnormal heart examination finding
- Mitral valve prolapse (MVP)
- Irregular heart rhythm or palpitations
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Ankle swelling
- Dizziness or fainting
- History of diet pill use
- History of congenital heart defects
Like we’ve stated before, this is a non-invasive test, but it will be a test that could possibly save your life. As for what results you can expect, an Echocardiogram of your heart will measure the following:
- The four heart chambers that receive circulating blood (atriums) and then pump the blood (ventricles) to the lungs and body. Both the size of the chambers and the thickness of the chamber walls are measured. (Note: High blood pressure can cause wall thickening and subsequent weakening of the heart muscle.)
- Pumping function of the heart muscle, while in motion.
- Heart valve structure including prolapse (MVP) or leaking.
- Pressure within the heart and lungs in patients with a history of diet pill use.
- Detects blood clots, masses or infections of the heart.
- Detects inflammation or fluid accumulation around the heart.
If you would like more information about echocardiograms, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD at 714-912-2211 or visit www.gordongunnmd.com to schedule an appointment today.
Dr. Gunn proudly serves Fullerton and all surrounding areas.