WHO SHOULD HAVE AN ECHOCARDIOGRAM?
Everyone who has difficulty in breathing, chest pain or an irregular heartbeat should have the ultrasound scans of an echocardiogram to rule out cardiac structure abnormalities.
Everyone who has undergone chemotherapy should have an echocardiogram first as some chemotherapy can damage the heart muscle. Also, after a stroke, you should make sure that there are no clots coming from the heart or any possible atrial septal defect, which means a hole in the heart then they should have an echocardiogram with contrast or a bubble test to see if there is a passage of blood, called shunt.
An echocardiogram should be done prior to surgery to see whether the heart muscle is contracting well.
Also, if you have breathing problems, then the echocardiogram shows if there are any problems with the blood pressure, the heart muscle or in the valves.
You could also have fluid around the heart, which is called pericardial effusion, usually due to an infection or secondary to cancer or low thyroid function.
TYPES OF ECHOCARDIOGRAM
Sometimes we need a stress echocardiogram or transesophageal echocardiogram to assess better the valves or if there are clots inside the heart. The echocardiogram can show endocarditis which is an infection in the valves and sometimes is followed by a transesophageal echocardiogram which is more accurate.