When you think of an ultrasound there are probably a few things you immediately think of: you think about how pregnant women go for an ultrasound to track the growth and development of their unborn child, you probably think about it being used as a more accurate tool than a mammogram, you may even think of it in terms of getting a closer look at the gallbladder or kidney to check up on their health.
When you think of cardiac ultrasounds, though, your immediate thought will likely be a way for doctors to check up after a heart attack. In all honesty, you’d be right on all of those counts. However, there is much more to it than that. You may be surprised by what a cardiac ultrasound is capable of.
1. Identify Tumors
Yes, cardiac ultrasounds can be used to detect tumors or growths around the heart.
2. Determining The Extent of Conditions
It is far easier for doctors to come to an accurate diagnosis when they can get a clearer picture of the extent of conditions regarding the valves of the heart. It’s also useful for getting a clear picture of each area of the heart to ensure that one problem hasn’t spiraled into multiple problems.
3. Bacterial Endocarditis
BE is an infection of the valves and a cardiac ultrasound is key to assessing and diagnosing this. This infection is caused by bacteria from the mouth, intestines or skin entering the bloodstream and infecting the heart.
4. Heart Movement
Following a heart attack, a cardiac ultrasound will be used to check up on the movement of the heart. This is crucial in doctor’s determining how extensive the damage has been to the heart. It plays a key role in the next steps of treatment and what medications or procedures may be required.
5. Heart Transplant
Before a heart can be transplanted into the patient it first needs to be examined. Doctors use a cardiac ultrasound to determine what condition the heart is in before they transplant it to a waiting patient. A heart transplant is a serious operation and a defective heart can endanger the health of a patient, so it is vital that doctors can examine it thoroughly to determine whether it’s a viable organ for transplant.
The beauty of ultrasound equipment is that it is truly versatile. It can be used for a wide variety of diagnoses and for many uses, from heart problems, pregnancy checkups, detecting cancer, and even broken bones. With the availability of portable units, testing can be carried out immediately, whether you’re in a rural community, in the middle of the city, in space, or on a sports field. They are also often used in the operating room so surgeons can get a clear picture of what is going on as they perform surgery. It also tracks how the heart is responding to the treatments.
We are living in a beautiful time of medical advancement and ultrasounds have already saved countless lives and will continue to do so in increasing numbers.