An angioplasty is a common medical procedure to widen arteries narrowed or blocked by plaque build-up. It involves inserting and inflating a special balloon to open arteries, allowing easier blood flow to the heart. A cardiologist may recommend this procedure to those with coronary artery disease, severe related chest pain, or those at increased risk…
Reasons for an Ultrasound From Your Cardiologist
Millions of Americans see a cardiologist annually to monitor their hearts and address any concerns they might have. Protecting heart health is a wise choice, as the American Society of Echocardiography reported that nearly 500,000 people in the U.S. die from heart-related problems, such as coronaries, each year. Some cardiologists may order a heart ultrasound for at-risk patients, and it can be helpful for these individuals to understand why such a test may be necessary.
Monitoring the heart
Individuals who suffer from chronic heart issues are usually at a greater risk for suffering heart attacks and other related issues that could lead to death. A heart ultrasound, also called an echocardiogram, can help a cardiologist monitor each section of the heart in more detail than what an EKG might provide. The sooner heart specialists can discover changes in those with chronic heart problems, the sooner they can opt for new or improved treatments.
Proper blood flow can be vital to a healthy heart. When the arteries become clogged or blood clots block proper blood flow, a heart attack can occur. A heart ultrasound allows cardiologists to monitor blood flow in their patients’ hearts without resorting to invasive surgery. If there is a blood flow problem, the ultrasound may reveal the reason why as well.
Confirming the presence of bacteria
The heart can be seriously affected by bacteria and become inflamed. The valves are especially prone to this issue. Bacteria may be introduced to the heart through several avenues:
- Advanced gingivitis of the gums
- An abundance of intestinal bacteria
- Bacteria from skin diseases such as eczema
A cardiologist can use a heart ultrasound to determine the presence of bacteria and how much damage it might have already caused. If an infection is present, this test may also help a heart specialist determine the best course of treatment based on what can be viewed in the results.
Measurement of the heart
Monitoring any changes in the heart can prevent future damage and conditions that may threaten someone’s life. An echocardiogram presents heart specialists with a complete and detailed image of the organ so they can compare it to previous tests. The size of the heart and the thickness of its walls may give clues to any abnormal changes so appropriate treatment can begin.
Measuring heart malfunctions
The heart’s rhythm can be interrupted by a variety of factors. A cardiologist may order an ultrasound if any abnormal and sudden problems take place.
If the heart’s rhythm changes suddenly and the beat becomes irregular, this may lead to cardiac arrest. Episodes of arrhythmia can be monitored with an echocardiogram to ensure the heart did not sustain any damage.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the human heart beats anywhere from 60-100 times per minute. When this rate increases, the racing could induce an irregular pattern or even skip beats. An ultrasound may reveal the cause of this issue and whether it can be treated.
The heart is a complicated organ that requires specialized treatment when it is damaged or functioning abnormally. A cardiologist may prescribe an echocardiogram to get an in-depth look at the possible causes and to promote increased heart health.
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