Your Guide To Heart Health: Conditions An Echocardiogram Can Diagnose

Posted on: 11 May 2022


An echocardiogram is a non-invasive diagnostic test that uses ultrasound waves to create an image of your heart. This image can show the size and shape of your heart, as well as how well it is functioning. The test can help identify problems with your heart muscle, valves, or blood flow.

This post highlights two common conditions that can be diagnosed with an echocardiogram.

Valvular Heart Disease

Valvular heart disease (VHD) is a condition that affects one or more of the valves in your heart. The valves ensure that blood flows through your heart in the correct direction. When they become damaged, they may not open or close properly, which can cause blood to leak back into your heart or flow through in the wrong direction.

VHD is a common condition, affecting up to 2.5% of adults in the United States. It can be caused by many things, including infection, aging, and certain medical conditions like rheumatic fever.

VHD is often diagnosed with an echocardiogram. The test can show if the valves are opening or closing properly. When blood leaks back into your heart or flows in the wrong direction, it creates turbulence. This turbulence is what an echocardiogram can help visualize. It can also show whether the valves are stiff or leaky.

If you have VHD, you may be treated with medications, surgery, or a combination of both. The treatment will depend on the severity of your condition.

Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

A myocardial infarction, or heart attack, happens after the blood supply to your heart is blocked. The blockage is often a result of a buildup of plaque in your arteries (atherosclerosis).

Plaque is essentially a mix of fat, cholesterol, and other substances. When plaque builds up, it narrows your arteries and makes it harder for blood to flow through them. If the plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form and completely obstruct the artery. The result is serious damage to your heart muscle.

An echocardiogram can help diagnose a heart attack. The test can show whether the blood flow to your heart is blocked. It can also help determine the extent of damage to your heart muscle. The echocardiogram may show a thickened heart muscle, an enlarged left ventricle, or a change in the shape of your heart. It may also show an abnormal heart rhythm.

If you have had a heart attack, you will likely be treated with medications and lifestyle changes. You may also need surgery to open the blocked artery. Look into echocardiogram services for more information.

Tip: A heart attack is a medical emergency. If you think you or someone else may be having one, call 911 immediately.