• Exam. Time :5 ~ 10 mins
  • Price :120,000 won

Ultrasonic waves are sound waves beyond the limits of audible sound that can move in a direction and reflect against an object. Echocardiography is a test that examines the heart with the characteristic of the ultrasonic waves. In other words, the echocardiography refers to a technique that evaluates the shape and function of the heart by sending ultrasonic waves to the heart and analyzing the ultrasonic waves reflected back.
This screening is a convenient technique that allows you to look at the internal structure of the heart, the functions and movements of the heart directly without inserting the instrument into the body, and that can be repeatedly conducted without any pain or danger. In addition, as there is no concern about radiation exposure unlike X-ray or radioactive isotope examinations, pregnant women and infants can have the examination safely.
However, ultrasonic waves cannot penetrate air, fat and bones, obese patients or patients with lung diseases cannot get good images.

1. Diagnostic Usefulness of Echocardiography

(1) Evaluating Heart Size & Function

You can measure the size of the atriums and ventricles of the heart, and evaluate the pump functions of the heart (cardiac contractile function of the left ventricle) and the ability to accept blood into the heart (diastolic function of the left ventricle), which is very important for the evaluation and treatment of heart diseases.

(2) Evaluating Heart Wall Thickness

Since the thickness of the heart wall can be measured, it easy to diagnose cardiomyopathy and to evaluate the survival rate and prognosis of patients.

(3) Evaluating Heart Valve

The shape of the heart valve and hemodynamic information of the heart can be identified, so the cause and severity of the valve disease can be assessed only with the ultrasound.

(4) Evaluating Ischemic Cardiac Disease

As to ischemic heart disease, the partial motion disorders of the heart wall can be identified. And especially, this examination plays an important role in detecting myocardial infarction with high mortality.

2. Examination Method

2 Dimensional (2D) Echocardiography

2D Echocardiography is a technique to obtain two-dimensional plane images in real time by sending multiple ultrasonic waves and then arranging the ultrasonic waves with the different intensity coming from various areas as different dots. You can evaluate atrial and ventricular, vascular sizes and functions, and valvular shape.

firgure.Dimensional (2D) Echocardiography

3. Findings of Various Cardiac Diseases from Echocardiography

(1) Valvular Disease

There are four valves in the heart to prevent blood from flowing backward: tricuspid valve between the right atrium and the right ventricle; pulmonary valve between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery; mitral valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle; and the aortic valve between the left ventricle and the aorta.

  • Mitral stenosis : A condition in which the mitral valve does not open normally due to hypertrophy, calcification, accretio, etc. and causes blood flow disorder
  • Mitral insufficiency (regurgitation) : A condition in which the mitral valve does not open normally due to hypertrophy, calcification, accretio, etc. and causes blood flow disorder
  • Aortic stenosis : A condition in which the aortic valve does not open normally, narrowing the opening of the aorta
  • Aortic insufficiency (regurgitation) : A condition in which the dysfunction of closing the aortic valve causes blood regurgitation
(2) Ischemic Cardiac Diseases

Ischemic Heart Disease is a disorder of the coronary arteries supplying blood to the heart, which causes the heart to fail to function properly.
Representative ischemic cardiac diseases are Angina and Myocardial Infarction. Myocardial infarction can be diagnosed when partial motion disorder is observed in the echocardiography

(3) Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a condition caused by heart muscle problems. The echocardiography is an important method of testing and treating cardiomyopathy.

(4) Evaluation of Pericardium

The echocardiography can easily detect thickened pericardium, exudation or inflammation.

(5) Cardiac Blood Clot

Blood clots in heart caused by many reasons can be easily diagnosed.

(6) Cardiac Tumor

Cardiac tumors can be easily found. A tumor in the right atrium is observed in the 2D ultrasonic photography above.

(7) Evaluation of Congenital Cardiac Disease

Septal defects, the most common type of congenital heart disease among adults, can be found and important information on the severity of the illness and treatment method can be provided.

4. What is a difference between Ultrasound and Echocardiography ?

Ultrasonography is widely used throughout the medical field such as abdominal or cervical ultrasound, gynecological or urological ultrasound, or intravascular ultrasound.
Firstly, unlike these general ultrasounds, echocardiography examines the structure of the moving heart.
Although other organs also move, but to accurately observe the heart's motion of repeating contractions and relaxation 60 to 100 times per minute, a device with a much better resolution and performance is required, just as cameras and camcorders function differently.
In addition, the echocardiogram assesses the "function" of the heart by measuring the volume and pressure of the heart using Doppler, unlike normal ultrasounds.