Dr. Nader Chadda and his team of cardiovascular professionals understand that some of the terms we use to describe medical procedures can make some of our patients a little anxious. After all, the bigger the words, the more complicated the medical procedure, or so the feeling goes.
Take for instance a transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). Big medical term, but does it mean you have to sign away the next few weeks or even months of your life after the procedure?
Sit back, relax, and rest assured that a transthoracic echocardiography represents a highly effective test that helps our experienced team of cardiovascular professionals determine the health of your heart.
OVERVIEW OF A TRANSTHORACIC ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY
Performing a transthoracic echocardiography requires one of our licensed technicians to acquire different views of the heart by moving a very small instrument over the body. The small instrument is called a transducer, and it moves to different areas on the chest and near the abdominal wall. A transducer, which h looks like a miniature version of a standard microphone, transmits sound waves into the chest and abdominal wall to receive in echoes that only the highly sensitive medical instrument can hear.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A TTE
Since the non-invasive medical procedure does not even require an incision, our patients do not have to make special preparations before the heart diagnostic test. We will have you lie on your back or on the left side on a table or diagnostic table. One of our licensed technicians will then attach small metal discs by taping the discs to your arms and legs to record the heart rate during the transthoracic echocardiography. We apply a small amount of a special gel by rubbing it on the left side of the chest. The special gel improves the capability of the small metal discs to detect the returning echoes caused by the transducer sound waves.
After preparing for the diagnostic test, the technicians will firmly press the transducer against the chest and abdomen and then make slow back and forth motions across the body. Echoes captured by the transducer travel to a video monitor, which records images of your heart that we evaluate after the test. We darken the room to provide the technician with an optimal view of the images displayed on the monitor. During the procedure, the technician might ask you to lie still, hold your breath, and/or move on to your left side. Our skilled technician might also request you to breathe in and out very slowly. A TTE typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.
AFTER THE TEST
The only task for the technician after a transthoracic echocardiogram is to wipe the gell off your chest and abdomen, as well as remove the small metal discs that captured the echoes. Many of our patients ask about the possible side effects of a TTE. Several research studies have concluded performing a TTE creates no health risks for patients. However, by firmly pressing a transducer on the chest and abdomen, you might feel a little discomfort.
We encourage all of our patients to take preventive steps for ensuring a healthy heart by requesting transthoracic echocardiography. Contact us to learn more about a TTE and to schedule an appointment for the non-invasive medical procedure.