Diagnostic Cardiac Ultrasounds

Primary & Alternative Medical Center

Jean Welsh, MD

Family Medicine Practice located in Silver Spring, MD

Primary & Alternative Medical Center in Silver Springs, Maryland, offers onsite diagnostic cardiac ultrasounds (one of the most effective tools for diagnosing heart conditions). This non-invasive test -- also called an echocardiogram -- allows Dr. Jean Welsh and her team to provide the highest level of heart care. When it comes to your heart, it’s vitally important that you take a proactive approach. Call or book an appointment online today and find out if you are a candidate for a diagnostic cardiac ultrasound.

Diagnostic Cardiac Ultrasounds

What is a diagnostic cardiac ultrasound?

A diagnostic cardiac ultrasound also called an echocardiogram, uses ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves) to create images of your heart on a computer screen. This is similar to how a camera makes an image using light.

The images created help your doctor see the internal structure of your heart and assess how well the blood moves between its chambers. It can allow your doctor to diagnose a structural issue, a blood clot, an infection, or a previous “silent” heart attack.

What should I expect during a diagnostic cardiac ultrasound?

The test is completely painless and takes about 30 minutes. A trained technician, called a sonographer, will conduct the test.

You will need to remove your clothing from the waist up -- women will receive a gown -- and lay down on the exam table on your left side. The sonographer attaches wires to electrodes that are attached to your chest using medical tape.

They will then apply ultrasound gel to a device called a transducer. The technician will move the transducer around on your chest, stomach, and neck while the machine records the images produced.

You will occasionally be asked to hold your breath and move into various positions. You will need to lay still and quiet during the exam.

The results of the test aren't usually immediate. The technician’s job is to record all the images, which are then reviewed by your cardiologist. Your physician will contact you within two to three days and go over the results with you.

What’s the difference between an echocardiogram and an EKG?

An EKG measures your heart beats and rhythms. It records the patterns of your heartbeat and can test for abnormal electrical activity such as a slow or erratic heart rate. It can also detect changes in the thickness of the heart walls or possible damage to the heart muscle or tissue.

An echocardiogram (diagnostic cardiac ultrasound) is a much more comprehensive measure of your heart’s function. The test evaluates valve health, blood flow, and heart malformations. It allows the doctor to “see” your heart in action and helps in the diagnosis of many more heart conditions.

Having a diagnostic cardiac ultrasound right in the offices of Primary & Alternative Medical Center in Silver Springs, Maryland means patients receive the most comprehensive cardiac care available. Call or make an appointment online today if you have concerns about your heart health.