Heart ultrasound represents irreplaceable help to a cardiologist, when on noninvasive (painless) and completely harmful way we want to estimate heart muscle condition, contractility, power of heart contraction, heart size, condition of heart valves. This method uses ultrasound beam for imaging of heart structures. We put cardiology probe on anterior chest wall that is why this method is called transthoracic heart ultrasound.
Modern ultrasound instruments use also color Doppler techniques, which provide accurate insight in condition of heart valves, blood flow speed through them and final evaluation of morphology and function of the heart. This examination can be used for recognition of various acquired and inherited heart illnesses. It enables recognition of congenital heart defects, evaluation of heart murmurs, evaluation of inflammatory heart diseases (myocarditis, perycarditis), pericardial sac condition and many other anatomic and functional details that are needed, that is why this exam is widely recommended as quality and safe method, even within control checkup in healthy persons.
Echocardiography is technique that uses sound waves of ultra high frequency.
When these waves meet with object of various densities, some of them return as echo that is then shown on moving paper or oscilloscope used for recognition of different heart structures. Basically it works like sonar developed during World War II. It provides direct visualization of anatomic structures, localization and movement of ventricle walls and their cavities, large vessels openings, valve leaflets and their integral function.
Probe that is placed on the chest wall has piesoelectrical crystal. This converts primary electric impulses into the sound waves of ultra high frequency and then reconverts echoes of sound waves into the electrical impulses. These are then shown as echocardiogram.
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