Our Services / Echocardiogram

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About Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram is a high-tech heart ultrasound that can be an integral part of diagnostic testing for cardiovascular health and function problems. Midsouth Independent Group (MIG) cardiology specialists in Memphis, Tennessee, offer easy-access heart health screening, diagnostic services, and cardiology care in a patient-friendly environment. Schedule your appointment by contacting a Midsouth Independent Group provider now.

Echocardiogram Q & A

What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound in which high-frequency sound waves produce detailed images of your heart chambers, valves, and blood vessels. 

Your MIG cardiology specialist studies these images on a high-definition monitor to detect and diagnose issues within your cardiovascular system. 

When might I need an echocardiogram?

You might need an echocardiogram for several reasons:

Finding the cause of heart symptoms

You could need an echocardiogram if you have possible signs of heart issues. For example, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and lower extremity swelling are all possible symptoms of heart failure. 

An echocardiogram can also evaluate heart valve function and check for many issues, including heart enlargement, blood clots, heart holes, tumors, or other abnormalities. 

Finding the reason for abnormal heart sounds

If your MIG cardiology specialist detects a heart murmur or other irregular sounds during a physical exam, they may recommend an echocardiogram to determine the cause.

Monitoring existing heart issues

If you have a diagnosed heart problem, such as heart failure, an echocardiogram can monitor your health and look for changes.

Follow-up to an abnormal electrocardiogram (EKG)

An EKG shows your heart's electrical activity. If this test is abnormal, an echocardiogram can determine the reason.

Assessing treatment results

If you're undergoing heart treatment, for example, with oral medication or a pacemaker, an echocardiogram can monitor its effectiveness.

Your MIG cardiology specialist may also use echocardiograms to check heart pressure and other aspects of your heart function and health.

How does an echocardiogram work?

The process varies with the type of echocardiogram. In a standard transthoracic echocardiogram, your MIG provider applies a conductive gel to your chest while you lie on the exam table. 

They then glide a handheld ultrasound tool over your chest to generate images. The test is completely painless. In some cases, you may need an injection of a contrast agent, which shows the heart borders in more detail.

With an exercise stress echocardiogram, the process is similar, except you exercise on a treadmill or bike after the echocardiogram. Then, your MIG provider performs another echocardiogram to get images while your heart's working at maximum capacity.

If your MIG provider needs to see your heart valves in more detail, you may need a transesophageal echocardiogram. The test involves placing an ultrasound tube down your throat while under sedation.

After an echocardiogram, you can usually resume your daily activities right away. Your MIG cardiology specialist discusses the results with you either immediately or within the next week. If you need treatment, they can create a customized cardiovascular care plan for you.

Contact a Midsouth Independent Group cardiology specialist today to arrange an echocardiogram.