The Essential Guide To Echocardiography Courses

Echocardiography is an essential point-of-care tool in intensive care medicine. Intensive care specialists trained in Advanced level CCE should be competent in performing and interpreting TTE on adult intensive care patients with complex hemodynamic disorders, including variable pharmacological and mechanical cardiorespiratory support.

A transthoracic echocardiogram called a TTE, uses harmless sound waves to create heart pictures. A dye may be given to improve the view of heart structures.

What is Echocardiography?

Echocardiography, also called a cardiac ultrasound or an echo, is a scan that uses sound waves to create moving pictures of the heart and surrounding blood vessels. It can help doctors see how well your heart muscle is working, find out if you have any blood clots in your heart, and check for problems with your heart valves. It can also show how well your fetus develops in the womb and help identify some congenital disabilities.

The healthcare professional (known as a sonographer) who performs the echo will ask you to remove your clothes from the top half of your body and then put a gel on your chest that helps the sound waves reach your heart. The procedure is painless and safe.

How Do I Get Started?

Echocardiography courses are noninvasive and usually painless. The only risk is in rare cases if dye (contrast) is used for the procedure.

Your doctor will explain the procedure to you before it is done. It is important to tell your doctor what medications you are taking, including over-the-counter and herbal medicines. Depending on your health condition, your doctor may also recommend avoiding certain foods or drinks before the test.

HSS offers annual point-of-care ultrasound/Basic Focus Assessed Transthoracic Echocardiography (FATE) courses for anesthesiologists nationwide. These echocardiography courses teach the initially focused cardiac ultrasound protocol practiced since 1989 and can be applied to perioperative, pre-hospital, and intensive care patients.

What Are the Different Types of Echocardiograms?

There are different types of echocardiograms. Your doctor chooses the kind based on what information they need to find out about your heart.

Most echocardiograms use a transducer to send sound waves through your chest and into your heart. The sound waves bounce off your heart and the heart valves, creating moving pictures on a computer screen.

Other tests may be used along with an echo to check the function of your heart. Your doctor may order a stress echocardiogram if they think you have coronary artery disease and need to know how your heart responds to exercise. This test uses a medicine called dobutamine to make your heart work harder.

A fetal echocardiogram is done during pregnancy to check for problems with the baby’s heart. It is safe for the unborn child and does not use radiation like X-rays.

What are the Different Procedures?

There are different procedures for echocardiograms, depending on the type of imaging a person needs. In general, the test is very safe and doesn’t involve radiation. The process is done by a trained cardiac sonographer and is usually very quick.

The most common type of echo is a two-dimensional (2D) ultrasound. 2D images look like slices of your heart on the screen and show how your heart is working. You can also get a 3D echo, which gives your doctor more detailed heart images. You can also get a Doppler ultrasound showing how fast blood flows through your heart. This can help doctors find early signs of blockages.

Another type of echo is called a stress echo, which checks your heart and valves while you exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike. For this test, you’ll take a medicine that makes your heart beat faster.

What Are the Benefits of Echocardiography?

An echo can help diagnose heart problems and determine how well the heart works. It can also show how well certain medications treat a condition. It can help your healthcare provider plan treatment.

It can help with some heart valve disorders and may be used to check for heart defects that are present at birth (congenital heart disease). An echo can show the thickness of your heart walls and how much blood is pumped with each beat.

An echo is a painless test. You can expect to be in the exam room for up to an hour. You may be asked to lie on your back and wear a hospital gown. The gel will be applied to your chest to help the sound waves reach your heart better. You will be hooked to an electrocardiogram monitor, blood pressure cuffs, and a pulse oximeter. You may be given a mild sedative to help you relax.