Echocardiography uses sound waves to evaluate your heart. Here are a few of the most common echocardiography procedures that Kootenai Health’s Heart Services’ diagnostic cardiologists perform:
Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE)
This is the standard, most commonly used method of echocardiography. Views of the heart are obtained by moving a hand-held transducer to different locations on the chest. The sound wave bounces off the heart and returns through the transducer to form an image on a monitor screen. It is a harmless and painless procedure, which takes about an hour.
Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)
When performing a TEE, the transducer is passed down the esophagus instead of being moved over the outside of the chest wall. TEE shows clearer pictures of your heart, because the transducer is located closer to the heart and because the lungs and bones of the chest wall do not interfere with the sound waves produced by the tranducer. This test requires a sedative and an anesthetic applied to the throat to ease discomfort.
This test involves performing a transthoracic echocardiogram before and after your heart is stressed (through carefully monitored exercise or medication). Stress echocardiograms are typically used to check for coronary artery disease.
Are you preparing to bring your child in for an echocardiogram? Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about performing echocardiograms on children.