Echocardiogram or commonly known as 2D Echo is simply a sonogram of the heart. It provides detailed information about the heart’s structure and function – including the pumping function of the heart as well as the function of the valves in the heart. The technology makes use of sound waves to create images and therefore does not involve any radiation exposure. The squeezing function of the left ventricle (the main pumping chamber of the heart) is calculated and called the “left ventricular ejection fraction” or LVEF, which estimates the percentage of blood ejected from the left ventricle with every heartbeat. The 4 valves in the heart are also looked at in close detail to ensure that they open and close normally. Any other structural abnormalities can also be seen and evaluated. Sometimes contrast is required to better visualize the heart. This involves inserting an intravenous and injecting a small amount of a contrast liquid. Click here to know more about a Heart attack.
If you’re unable to exercise for the above test, you might be given medication to simulate the effects of exercise. During this test, an echocardiogram initially is performed when you’re at rest. Then dobutamine is given to you as an intravenous infusion into the arm. Its effect is to make your heart work harder and faster just like with exercise. After it has taken effect, serial echocardiograms are done. The effect wears off very quickly. Click here to request an appointment.