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Health Information For Parents
An echocardiogram (also called an echo or cardiac ultrasound) uses sound waves to create pictures of the heart. This painless ultrasound test shows the structure of the heart and its parts and how well they’re working.
Doctors may order an echocardiogram to look for any problems with the heart’s walls and valves, the blood vessels leading to and from the heart, and the heart’s pumping strength.
Your child should be able to eat and drink normally beforehand. Do not put any lotions, creams, or powders on your child’s chest on the day of the echocardiogram.
Your child should wear a shirt that can be easily taken off for the test. Older children will be given a gown. You also can bring along a toy, book, or video as a distraction.
An echocardiogram is done in a darkened room, with your child lying down. Small metal stickers (electrodes) are placed on the chest. These measure the rhythm of the heart beating. Gel put on the chest helps sounds waves travel from the echocardiogram wand (the transducer) to the heart and back again. The person doing the test will move the wand around to get pictures of the heart from different angles.
Your child will feel some pressure from the wand, but an echocardiogram is not painful.
Parents can stay with their child during an echocardiogram. Help your child stay calm by reading books or watching a video.
It usually takes 30 to 60 minutes to get the pictures needed. If your child is calm and lying still, it can help the test go quicker. The gel and stickers are removed when the test is over.
The doctor will review the echocardiogram and give you the results within 1 to 2 days.
An echocardiogram is a safe procedure without any risks.
A fetal echocardiogram (also called a fetal echo) uses sound waves to create pictures of an unborn baby’s heart.
The heart and circulatory system are our body’s lifeline, delivering blood to the body’s tissues. Brush up on your ticker with this body basics article.
Heart murmurs are very common, and most are no cause for concern and won’t affect a child’s health.
Aortic stenosis means the aortic valve is too small, narrow, or stiff. Many people have no symptoms, but kids with more severe cases will need surgery so that blood flows properly through the body.
Atrial septal defect (ASD) â also known as a “hole in the heart” â is a type of congenital heart defect. Most ASDs are diagnosed and treated successfully.
This minimally invasive procedure helps doctors performÂ diagnostic tests on the heart and even treat some heart conditions.
Coarctation of the aorta (COA) is a narrowing of the aorta, the major blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart to the body.
Double outlet right ventricle (DORV) is a heart defect where the aorta connects to the heart in the wrong place.
Ebstein anomaly is a rare heart defect that affects the tricuspid valve. It can cause problems that range from very mild to very serious.
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a birth defect of a babyâs heart. The left side of the heart doesnât grow as it should, making it smaller and weaker than normal.
An interrupted aortic arch (IAA) is a rare heart condition in which the aorta doesnât form completely. Surgery must be done within the first few days of a babyâs life to close the gap in the aorta.
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a very common heart condition, but it isn’t a critical heart problem or a sign of other serious medical conditions.
The ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that connects two major arteries before birth and normally closes after a baby is born. If it stays open, the result is a condition called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).
The foramen ovale is a normal opening between the upper two chambers of an unborn babyâs heart. It usually closes soon after the babyâs birth â when it doesn’t, it’s called a patent foramen ovale.
Pulmonary stenosis means the pulmonary valve is too small, narrow, or stiff. Many people have no symptoms, but kids with more severe cases will need surgery so that blood flows properly through the body.
Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a combination of problems caused by a birth defect that changes the way blood flows through the heart.
Tricuspid atresia is a congenital heart defect. A baby born with tricuspid atresia often has serious symptoms soon after birth because blood flow to the lungs is much less than normal.
Truncus arteriosus is a heart defect that happens when a child is born with one large artery instead of two separate arteries.
A guide to medical terms about the heart and circulatory system. In an easy A-Z format, find definitions on heart defects, heart conditions, treatments, and more.
Ventricular septal defect (VSD) â also known as a “hole in the heart” â is a congenital heart defect. Most VSDs are diagnosed and treated successfully.
An echocardiogram (also called an echo or cardiac ultrasound) uses sound waves to create pictures of the heart. See why doctors might order this test for teens.
Atrial septal defect, or ASD, is a heart defect that some people are born with. Most ASDs are diagnosed and treated successfully with few or no complications.
Doctors use cardiac catheterization to gather information about the heart and blood vessels as well as treat certain heart conditions. Find out what’s involved.
When someone has coarctation of the aorta, that person’s aorta (the major blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart to the body) is narrowed at some point.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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