Pediatrician Specialty Practices

A Private Pediatric Practice & Pediatric Cardiologist located in Federal Way, WA

If you or your child is at risk of a heart problem or have symptoms of one, you can turn to Pediatrician Specialty Practices in Federal Way and Puyallup, Washington. Nauman Ahmad, MD, FAAP, and his staff offer echocardiograms to detect or rule out cardiovascular issues and reduce the risk of complications. Schedule an appointment with Pediatrician Specialty Practices by phone or online to find out if an echocardiogram is right for you.

Echocardiogram Q & A

What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is a diagnostic procedure that can detect heart defects in babies, children, teenagers, adults, and fetuses in pregnant women. Heart disease can affect different parts of the heart and cause serious problems when left untreated.

Echocardiograms use sound waves to produce pictures of your heart and blood vessels, allowing your doctor to detect irregularities with your heartbeat or blood pumping. 

What are echocardiograms used for?

An echocardiogram helps your doctor detect:

  • Heart defects
  • Heart valve problems
  • Heart chamber abnormalities
  • Changes in heart size
  • Heart muscle damage
  • Irregularities in your heart’s pumping strength
  • Causes of unpleasant symptoms
  • Defects before birth (fetal echocardiogram)

If you or your child experience chest pain, shortness of breath, bluish skin, swelling, or other signs of a heart problem, they may be a good candidate for an echocardiogram.

What are the different types of echocardiograms?

There’s no special preparation needed for echocardiograms, and they’re painless. Depending on the symptoms and medical history of you or your child, Dr. Ahmad might recommend one of the following types of echocardiograms:

Transthoracic echocardiogram

During a transthoracic echocardiogram, your provider places a special gel on a device called a transducer. They press it against your skin to allow sound waves to create pictures of your heart.

Fetal echocardiogram

A fetal echocardiogram is an ultrasound performed during pregnancy to evaluate the fetal heart. During a fetal echocardiogram, the provider places a small probe called a transducer on the mother’s abdomen, which uses sound waves to check the heart of your developing baby.

How should I prepare for an echocardiogram?

There are no special preparations necessary for most echocardiograms, so you or your child can eat, drink, and take medications as usual. Children must undress from the waist up and lie down on an examination table. With a fetal echocardiogram, you must expose your abdomen. 

What should I expect during an echocardiogram?

Right before an echocardiogram, Dr. Ahmad attaches sticky patches, called electrodes, to you or your child’s skin to conduct and detect electrical currents. Dr. Ahmad recommends using a favorite toy, game, or snack to help children stay still during the procedure.

He applies a special gel and transducer to the skin to optimize conduction and record images of sound-wave echoes within the heart.

You might hear pulsing sounds of blood flowing during the procedure, which often takes less than one hour to complete from start to finish.

What happens after the procedure?

After an echocardiogram, you can resume normal daily activities immediately. Dr. Ahmad reviews the results with you and lets you know if he detects a heart problem. If so, he may suggest additional diagnostic tests, lifestyle changes, medications, a surgical procedure, or a heart transplant in some instances.

If you or your child has a heart issue or is at risk of heart problems, schedule an appointment with Pediatrician Specialty Practices by phone or online to find out if they’re a candidate for an echocardiogram.