A transthoracic echocardiogram is an ultrasound test of the heart. A probe is applied to the chest in various positions to take moving images of the heart muscle. It is performed in the office on most patients being evaluated for cardiac disease. It takes approximately 20 minutes and requires no specific preparation.
You are required to remove upper body clothing and a clear gel is applied to the ultrasound probe. The heart muscle function and cardiac valves are assessed for abnormalities.
An ultrasound is used to assess
1. Heart chamber sizes
2. Heart muscle function
3. Heart valve function e.g. leakiness or narrowing of a heart valve
4. Disease of the aorta or major tube which exists the heart
5. The presence of fluid around the heart
The ultrasound is a valuable tool used in all patients that present with specific cardiac symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath, palpitations or blackouts.
The results of the ultrasound will be immediately available and verbally reported to you.
This is an ultrasound performed in Hospital under light sedation or a general anaesthetic. Fasting is required for 6 hours prior. A thin probe is placed into the food pipe and very detailed pictures of the heart and valves are possible. It is used to evaluate the cardiac valves in detail. It is also used to assess the heart prior to certain electrical procedures perfomed on the heart muscle.