Diagnose Your Condition with an Echocardiogram in MA & RI
An echocardiogram, also called echo or cardiac ultrasound, is an ultrasound of your heart. This heart procedure uses sound waves to provide a real-time 2D picture of your beating heart’s chambers, valves and the aorta, or create moving pictures that show the heart’s structure, size and the way it pumps.
At Southcoast Health, our cardiologists use echocardiograms in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island to diagnose and treat heart and vascular conditions like heart attack, heart failure, blood clots, heart defects and heart valve disease. It is safe, non-invasive and requires no special preparation.
When Is an Echocardiogram Used?
This method is non-invasive and reliable, and can be used on infants, children and adults alike. An echocardiogram is also the primary imaging test used to diagnose heart valve disease, like severe aortic stenosis.
Your doctor may recommend an echocardiogram if:
- You show symptoms of a heart condition, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, swollen legs and ankles, unexplained fatigue, fainting or dizzy spells
- Your doctor heard irregular heart sounds (heart murmur) with a stethoscope
- Your doctor is monitoring your heart health after you’ve had a surgery, stroke or heart attack, or on an ongoing basis if you have an existing heart condition like heart failure or coronary artery disease
What to Expect from an Echo at Southcoast Health
When you come to Southcoast for an echocardiogram, a registered cardiac sonographer will perform the procedure, which takes about an hour. You’ll lay down on your back or left side, and the sonographer will gently roll an ultrasound probe (transducer) over the surface of your chest. The transducer sends and receives sound waves to produce an image of your heart on a monitor. This method is painless and has no known risks or complications. The results of the test are interpreted by a cardiologist.
Other types of echocardiograms are transesophageal echocardiograms (TEE), stress echocardiograms and Doppler echocardiograms. More advanced techniques can also be used to help guide certain procedures, particularly patients in our Cardiac Surgery or Structural Heart Programs, and involve 3D technology for more detailed imaging.
We will share your results with you as soon as possible, and may also order other tests to get a more complete picture of your heart health.
Our doctors want to help you achieve your best heart health — find a cardiologist near you today to see if an echocardiogram is the right procedure for you.
Southcoast Health helps detect heart abnormalities by offering echo services in Fall River, Dartmouth, New Bedford and Wareham, MA, as well as Providence and Middletown, RI.