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Echocardiography, Types of Echocardiography, Benefits of Echocardiography

echocardiography-types of echocardiographyEchocardiography is a technique in which ultrasound waves are used to detect any abnormality in the heart structure and function. The probe can be placed on the chest wall which is called trans-thoracic echocardiography or an endoscope-like probe is inserted into the oesophagus and then echocardiogram is taken.
With the help of echocardiography one can detect; ( Benefits of Echocardiography )
1. Size of all four chambers of the heart.
2. Ejection fraction, which corresponds to the assessment left the ventricular function
3. Myocardial Ischemia or infarction; The dead or ischemic wall will show an abnormal motion on echocardiography.
4. Papillary Muscle dysfunction, Mitral Regurgitation.
5. Left Ventricular Aneurysm.
6. Ventricular Septal Defect.
7. Left ventricular thrombus. ( also see an article on thrombus formation )
8. Cardiac output.
9. Ventricular Hypertrophy.
10. Pericardial effusion.
11. Atrial septal defects.
12. Congenital abnormalities eg. tetralogy of Fallot. ( a case of tetralogy of Fallot click here )
So you can assume that there are many benefits of echocardiography.

Types of Echocardiography:

There are several types of echocardiography:
1. Two-dimensional echocardiography and its benefits.
Two-dimensional echocardiography is particularly valuable for detection wall motion abnormalities, intracardiac masses such as thrombi, tumours and endocarditic vegetation (see an article on infective endocarditis ) and congenital heart diseases.

2. M-Mod Echocardiography.
M-Mod Echocardiography is useful for the measurement for size of heart chambers, ejection fraction and timing of opening and closing of heart valves.

3. Doppler echocardiography.
It is useful to detect mitral regurgitation, aortic regurgitation and pressure gradient across stenotic aortic valve.

4. Trans-oesophagal Echocardiography:
In this type an endoscope-like probe is entered into the oesophagus, it is placed behind the heart and ultrasonic images are taken. It is very helpful in detecting, very small vegetations, thrombus in left atrium appendage and ASD which is not detected by transthoracic echocardiography.

5. Stress Echocardiography.
Echocardiography is done immediately after exercise and abnormality of heart wall motion is checked. The motion of ischemic wall would be abnormal. Nowadays pharmacological stress is induced with the help of dobutamine, adenosine or dipyridamole. The dobutamine stress test is commonly used.

6. Contrast Echocardiography.
Contrast is injected and echocardiography is done to check any septal defects. (contrast dye will move to the adjacent chamber through defect).

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