What Are The Different Types of Echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram uses painless ultrasound waves to scan the heart, assessing the structure and function of the heart’s muscle, valves, and major blood vessels.
There are multiple types of echocardiograms, each suitable for different clinical scenarios. The type of echocardiogram you require will depend on the symptoms (if any) you are experiencing, the purpose of the scan, and what issues your Doctor is looking for, with the most common type of echo being Transthoracic Echocardiograms (TTEs), which scan the surface of the chest with an ultrasound probe.
What Is The Purpose of An Echocardiogram?
An echo scan is used to help diagnose and monitor certain heart conditions, creating a visual image of the heart, checking its structure and major blood vessels, assessing how blood flows through them, and looking at the pumping and filling chambers of the heart.
There are three types of echocardiograms we are going to discuss:
Transthoracic Echocardiograms (TTEs)
As mentioned, a TTE is the most common type of echo and is a non-invasive diagnostic scan, taking around 20 minutes to complete. The scan consists of a hand-held ultrasound probe coated with gel being passed across the surface of the chest.
This type of scan is suitable for diagnosing a wide range of heart muscle and valve abnormalities and detecting issues such as damage from heart attacks, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and much more.
At EchoMed, we specialise in carrying out Transthoracic Echocardiograms, with our Doctors ensuring our patients have as relaxing and comfortable an experience as possible. By attending our clinic, you can be confident that your procedure is being completed by an experienced professional to the highest standard.
Transoesophageal Echocardiograms (TOE)
A Transoesophageal Echocardiogram produces a more in-depth image of the heart, outlining very fine details, particularly around the heart valves.
Unlike TTEs, this is an invasive procedure whereby the ultrasound probe is placed into the mouth and positioned in the gullet while under sedation, like an endoscopy. This type of echocardiogram can be used to assess the heart’s valves for small areas of damage or to look for the presence of blood clots in the context of abnormal heart rhythms and can add value in many other heart conditions.
We do not currently offer TOE at our EchoMed Clinics.
The final of the three types of echocardiogram we are discussing in this article is Stress Echocardiogram, which examines how the heart functions under strain. This can be performed during exercise or after a dose of stimulant medication.
This type of echocardiogram looks for abnormal heart muscle and valve functions and can be particularly useful for patients with a history of heart attacks to examine the extent of heart muscle damage or in those with valve problems of uncertain severity.
What Do I Do With My Results?
When attending our cardiac clinics, your scan will be performed by Doctors, which means you will receive a full explanation of your results immediately after your procedure. As you leave our clinic, you will be given a diagram of your heart, annotated with any significant abnormalities.
We will also send a formal report, as well as any recommendations for further investigation or treatments, to your GP by the end of the day.
If your scan demonstrates significant heart problems, our Doctors will keep in touch with you directly to discuss the next steps. Alternatively, if you would like more information about some of the more common minor heart problems, please visit our Your Scan Results page, where you will find a glossary of key terms and our recommendations for further follow-up and assistance.
Trust A Specialist
When choosing EchoMed for your echocardiograms, you can be assured that you are in the best hands possible. We have invested heavily in our clinic spaces, our state-of-the-art equipment, and team, ensuring everyone has the top qualifications and experience to complete their job role to the highest standard possible.
We aim to make the procedure as comfortable as possible, delivering our patients a relaxing and industry-leading experience. Would you like more information on our services or the types of echocardiograms we can perform? Contact us today to speak to one of our experts and discuss any questions or queries you have.
Additionally, if you want to book your echocardiogram appointment directly, you can do so online now.