The Charles L. Tice Heart Center for Diagnostic Services:
Echocardiography, Stress Echocardiography & Transesophageal Echocardiography
Newton Medical Center’s Echocardiography Laboratory is accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL). The accreditation makes Newton Medical Center’s Echocardiography Laboratory one of the first 1,000 echocardiography laboratories in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico to be recognized for its commitment to high quality patient care and its provision of providing quality diagnostic testing.
Echocardiography uses ultrasonic waves from outside the body to produce images of the various heart structures, valves and chambers. A probe is applied to the surface of the chest and images are produced utilizing sound waves which produce high quality images of the heart. The cardiologist utilizes the images to diagnose abnormalities related to the heart function and structures.
Stress Echocardiography is utilized by the cardiologist to detect heart muscle abnormalities that may indicate a lack of blood flow to the heart muscle. The goal is to perform Echocardiography when the patient’s target heart rate is reached. This may be accomplished either by exercise - i.e. walking on a treadmill - or, if the patient is unable to tolerate exercise, a pharmacological agent may be used to increase the patients heart rate. A pharmacological agent, usually Dobutamine, is administered through an intravenous line which increases the heart rate, therefore simulating heart function during exercise. A probe is applied to the surface of the chest and images are produced utilizing sound waves which produce high quality images of the heart when the target heart rate is reached. Heart muscle motion abnormalities may indicate a lack of blood flow to the heart which may indicate that further testing is needed.
Transesophageal Echocardiography, or TEE, maybe utilized when echocardiography is inadequate due to the patient’s anatomy. The patient is given a sedative through their intravenous line for comfort and relaxation. When the sedative takes effect, a probe is gently advanced into the esophagus which lies close to the heart. The probe provides ultrasound images of the heart for the cardiologist to diagnose abnormalities related to the heart function and structures.