An echocardiogram (echo) is a test that uses ultrasound in order to examine how your heart and its valves are functioning. The images received from the test can show the size of your heart, fluid in the sac around your heart, any blood clots, problems with the aorta, or any pressure in your heart. Echocardiograms are crucial for heart health and for detecting any heart defects or irregularities.
If your child is at risk for heart problems or is showing signs of having one, it’s vital that they receive an echocardiogram to find out the root cause and reduce any risk of complications. Echocardiograms can be performed on babies, children, teenagers, adults, and fetuses in pregnant women.
The most common reasons echocardiograms are performed in children are due to:
- An abnormal EKG ( a test to measure the rhythm of the heart)
- A heart murmur
- Activity-related chest pain
Nauman Ahmad, MD, FAAP, and the rest of our expert team at Pediatrician Specialty Practices in Federal Way, Washington, offer echocardiograms in order to find or rule out any heart issues in your child. Here’s a little more about this cardiovascular test and what to expect should your child need one.
Types of echocardiograms
The type of echocardiogram that your child receives will depend on their symptoms and medical history. The two most common types of echocardiograms that our team performs are transthoracic echocardiograms and fetal echocardiograms.
Transthoracic echocardiograms use a special device called a transducer. It’s pressed against your child’s skin in order to produce pictures of their heart.
Fetal echocardiograms use a probe called a transducer that’s placed on your abdomen in order to monitor your developing baby’s heart.
What to expect from the procedure
There’s no special preparation work your child needs to do before receiving a transthoracic or fetal echocardiogram, so your child can eat, drink, and take medications just like normal before the procedure.
Right before the echocardiogram, Dr. Ahmad attaches patches called electrodes to your child’s skin that are able to detect and conduct electrical currents. After the electrodes are in place, Dr. Ahmad uses the transducer to record images of the ultrasound waves coming from your child’s heart.
The procedure should take about one hour from start to finish.
After your echocardiogram is complete, Dr. Ahmad reviews the results with you and lets you know if your child has a heart problem. He’ll discuss the next steps you’ll need to take for your child’s health care, and those next steps may include more testing, lifestyle changes, medications, or a surgical procedure.
If your child is showing signs of heart trouble or you need testing done for your baby’s heart in utero, schedule an echocardiogram with Pediatrician Specialty Practices today. You can do this by giving us a call at our office located in Federal Way, Washington, or by using our online booking tool today.