When ultrasound is used to examine the cardiovascular anatomy and hemodynamics, it is known as echocardiography. The procedure is performed by a cardiac sonographer who has specialised in the field of echocardiography working in close contact with the patient throughout the procedure.
The procedure can show the areas of heart muscles which are not contracting properly due to poor blood flow owing to an injury or a heart attack. With help of echocardiography, the blood clots formed inside the heart, a fluid buildup in the pericardium, and problems with the aorta can be detected.
Transthoracic and foetal echocardiography (echo) has no risks. These tests are safe in adults, children, and infants. If you have a transesophageal echo (TEE), some risks are associated with the medicine given to help you relax. These include a bad reaction to the medicine, problems breathing, or nausea (feeling sick to your stomach). These after affects are common and should go away on their own in a few hours after the test.
There could be shortness of breath in some patients immediately after the procedure. This problem is psychological, sometimes TEE may also cause shortness of breath due to swelling of the esophagus.
TEE can rarely cause problems with heart rhythm or infection of the heart valves. Although, these problems are related to a pre-existing condition.
The procedure can make your throat sore for a few hours after the test. Rarely a tube used during TEE can cause minor throat injuries. Stress echo has some risks, but are only related to the exercise or medicine used to raise your heart rate, and not to the echo.
Read more articles on Echocardiography.