2D Echo :
Echocardiography is also known as Echo, Cardiac Ultrasound, Doppler ultrasound of the heart, Cardiac Ultrasonography, 2D echo test and 3d echo test. It is a test that used to give an image of the heart using sound waves. It can be used in conjunction with a stress test to show the heart as it beats while the patient is exercising.
Echocardiography is a very precise method to detect the hearts movement and shape. It is a non-invasive technique that uses sonar to study the motion and appearance of the valves. The patient is asked to lie down and remove clothing from the waist up. A sheet of paper or cloth is used to cover the patient. Electrodes will then be placed on the patients body. The patient might be asked to breathe in a certain way or be asked to lie on ones side to best help the test be performed successfully. A gel is applied to the chest followed by a transducer i.e. a machine that sends and receives sound which is placed on the body over the heart and measures distance to produce the visual representation of the heart on a monitor. How the visuals appear in a 2d echo test and a 3d echo test will depend on the machine used. Though only a trained sonographer is required to perform the test, a cardiologist will best interpret the results.
The test is performed for a variety of reasons:
- To detect abnormal heart valves i.e. the atria and the ventricles which are concerned with the distribution of blood.
- To detect abnormal heart rhythms like tachycardia i.e. rapid increase in beating of the heart to brachycardia i.e. rapid decrease in beating of the heart
- To check for any congenital heart disease.
- To observe for any damage that the heart might have taken after a heart attack.
- To look for inflammation of the heart also known as pericarditis or for any fluid that might have gathered in the sac around the heart.
- To look for heart murmurs.
- To observe the heart in greater detail.
This kind of test is perfectly safe and should be performed in an environment with a trained sonographer present. Patients are advised to speak to their cardiologist before taking any medication or changing their routine. There are no special preparations a patient needs to take for this test but diabetic patients should always consult their doctor who must be kept well informed before undergoing echocardiography or altering existing medication dosage.