Echocardiography uses two-dimensional, three dimensional and Doppler ultrasound to display and study images of the heart. Echocardiograms are the actual sonograms of the heart and can be referred to as an echo or cardiac echo.
Echocardiography is used in the medical field to diagnose, manage and assess patients who might have heart defects or disease. Echocardiograms can provide a lot of useful information such as size of the heart, how much blood a heart can pump, identifying and assessing any cardiac damage. It can also help physicians determine diastolic function, to make sure the heart is operating properly and at maximum efficiency.
Echocardiography is the first ultrasound specialty to use intravenous contrasting. Contrast echocardiography uses microbubbles of gas with a protein shell as a contrast agent. This contrast agent circulates through the cardiovascular system and allows the ultrasound waves to bounce off of it, creating a reflective image. Contrast echocardiography is used most often to assess regional and global systolic function. It can also be used to find masses in the heart and observe blood perfusion through the heart and associated arteries.
Physicians in the United States are required to receive credentials from the National Board of Echocardiograpy (NBE) to read and provide echocardiograms. The NBE will determine the knowledge each echocardiography provider and the level of patient care provided. The NBE makes sure that the high level of quality standards established in the field are upheld. Physicians are required to document training in cardiovascular diseases and echocardiography. Physicians are then required to take a comprehensive exam and are required to take a re-certification exam during their 9th, 10th, or 11th year surrounding the expiration date of their previous exam.
3D echocardiography or 4D echocardiography services are available for patients. 3D and 4D echocardiograms are made possible by using a matrix array ultrasound probe. 4D echocardiography actually shows the heart moving and functioning. This allows physicians and staff to analyze the real-time functioning of the heart and diagnose or observe any abnormalities.
At Kernodle Clinic, all of our cardiologists have extensive experience with the latest echocardiography technology. Our physicians have the knowledge and expertise to diagnose, observe and treat abnormalities or diseases within the cardiovascular system.