There are two types of Echocardiogram procedures performed at Dickinson Memorial Hospital.
A traditional echocardiogram is an ultrasound of your heart. With this test, your heart can be seen functioning by way of a live, electronic image. Echocardiograms are useful in the diagnoses of valvular heart disease, congenital abnormalities, chronic or long-standing heart conditions, murmurs, and to assess possible damage to the heart from previous heart attacks. The procedure is painless and takes 30-60 minutes.
During a Transesophageal Echocardiogram exam a small tube with a “camera” on the end is passed down through your throat into the esophagus. By having the camera so close to your heart, it allows very clear, detailed pictures of the heart-much more so than by looking through the chest wall as in a traditional echocardiogram. As a result, this exam is usually used when a very detailed view of your heart is required. Exam time may vary, but typically lasts about 2-3 hours. Because of the use of sedatives during the exam, you will need a ride home after the test.