The Importance of an Echocardiogram.


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America.

Heart abnormalities tend to go unnoticed (until it’s too late) because most people are asymptomatic. Heart disease is an insidious killer — the body and mind adapt to chronic conditions, which causes us to lose our ability to decipher the threat level to our health. For example, most valvular diseases cause shortness of breath, however, many patients have lost their breath over a prolonged period of time so they don’t realize they are at risk. Sonography is a vital, reliable tool in the fight against heart disease. Sonography is a digital, diagnostic imaging technique that uses ultrasound to detect pathologies and measure risk levels across the healthcare spectrum.

At 4C Medical Group, we offer sonography at all of our Arizona clinics. Our sonographer, Makenzie Teichert performs two specific forms of cardiovascular sonography to screen for asymptomatic abnormalities (for a list of other ultrasound screenings, see below): Echocardiogram and CIMT (Carotid Intima-Media Thickening Test).

An echocardiogram is a simple, non-invasive procedure that can detect if a patient is at risk for heart disease, or if they have a pre-existing heart abnormality. An echocardiogram detects and measures the overall health of the heart – the size and movement of the heart muscles as well as the four valves of the heart, ensuring they are functioning correctly.

Ms. Teichert reports that she has scanned many patients over the years who claim they don’t have shortness of breath. Consequently, after having an echocardiogram, they discover they need a valve replacement. They have returned after surgery to inform her that they can breath freely and didn’t realize how compromised they were until post-surgery.

A study performed over the course of 10 years found that 90% of those with thickening of the carotid artery walls, who did not receive preventative care, suffered from a heart attack or a stroke. CIMT is a quick, non-invasive 15-minute ultrasound exam of the carotid artery (in the neck), that measures the thickness of the walls in the artery. This exam quantifies the risk of stroke and/or heart failure. If a patient is at risk for stroke and/or heart failure, his or her doctor(s) will create a preventative treatment plan including medications and lifestyle changes to prevent further risk and damage to the artery.

These accessible, preventative ultrasound exams are life changing and life-saving.

We also offer Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm screenings, Lower Arterial ultrasounds (to screen for peripheral vascular disease), and Lower Venous ultrasounds (to screen for blood clots).

Contact us to schedule your appointment at 4C Medical Group!

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