If your child has signs of a cardiovascular health problem, echocardiography is a safe, noninvasive test that can help your cardiologist diagnose their condition. At Children’s Cardiology Group in Orange, Newport Beach and Mission Viejo, California, the team of expert pediatric cardiologists provides several types of echocardiography, including fetal, pediatric, transthoracic, and transesophageal testing. Call Children’s Cardiology Group or schedule a consultation online today.
Echocardiography is a noninvasive diagnostic procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart and the surrounding blood vessels and tissues. In addition to providing pediatric echocardiography tests for children, the team at Children’s Cardiology Group also offers fetal echocardiography to assess the development and function of your unborn baby’s heart.
Transthoracic echocardiography is a noninvasive diagnostic procedure. During the test, your child lies on their back or left side. One of the sonography technicians attaches disc-like electrodes to their chest, arms, and legs. These electrodes monitor your child’s heartbeat during the test.
Then, the technician spreads a gel over your child’s chest that helps the transducer move smoothly back and forth over their skin. The transducer wand moves over your child’s chest, releasing sound waves that echo back off of their heart and other internal tissue. The transducer collects the information and transmits it to a computer that converts the data into pictures.
A transesophageal echocardiogram is performed at the hospital under anesthesia. This may be needed if the heart is not adequately visualized during a transthoracic echocardiogram. During transesophageal echocardiography, the technician gently inserts a thin tube through your child’s mouth and esophagus to position the small transducer closer to their heart. This proximity allows the device to create clear and detailed pictures.
During the procedure, they provide a mild sedative to your child to keep them comfortable and relaxed. The procedure isn’t painful, although it does create some pressure, and your child might have a sore throat for a few hours after the test.
Your pediatrician might refer you to the team at Children’s Cardiology Group for echocardiography if they find something abnormal during a routine check-up.
Other signs that your child might have a heart health issue include becoming easily fatigued or short of breath during exercise. They might also faint or have swelling in their hands, feet, or ankles. Babies with congenital heart abnormalities might have a blue tint to their skin or have trouble breathing while they feed.
If your child has transthoracic echocardiography or if you have fetal echocardiography, you don’t need to do anything special to prepare. However, if your cardiologist has recommended transesophageal echocardiography, your child shouldn’t eat or drink anything for up to six hours before their test.
Call Children’s Cardiology Group or make an appointment online today for expert pediatric cardiology care, including echocardiography.