An echocardiography is an ultrasound of your heart. It uses sound waves to create moving pictures of your heart so your doctor can see your heart beating and the movement of the valves.
A transthoracic echocardiogram, or TTE, is the most common type of echocardiogram. We may order a TTE if you have:
- Abnormal heart sounds
- Enlarged heart
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
TTE is also used to examine your heart valves, check on the function of an artificial heart and determine how well your heart can pump blood.
Your doctor may use a transesophageal echocardiogram, or TEE, to examine the size and shape of your heart, as well as how well your heart chambers and valves are working. TEE is useful for:
- Detecting blood clots and abnormal masses
- Determining the severity of heart valve problems
- Detecting certain heart diseases
- Evaluating patients who suffered a stroke due to a blood clot
A stress echocardiogram is useful in determining whether your heart muscle has sufficient blood flow and oxygen when it is under stress. If you have chest pain or recently had a heart attack, your doctor may order a stress echocardiogram. The results of the test can help your doctor determine how well your heart pumps and if there is sign of coronary artery disease.
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