Echocardiography Lab

Henry Ford offers the most advanced echocardiogram techniques available, which are used to provide more information about your heart.

Cardiovascular conditions are complex, and an accurate diagnosis is key. One important tool that may help to diagnose certain heart and vascular conditions is echocardiography, an imaging test that gives your doctor more information about your heart. If you have been referred for an echocardiogram, you likely have many questions about this test.

The Henry Ford difference

  • Experienced team: In 2019, we performed over 36,000 tests systemwide, including stress tests, chemical stress tests, nuclear tests and transesophageal echocardiograms (TEEs). Over 17,500 of our echocardiography tests were performed at our main campus, Henry Ford Hospital.
  • Accreditation and certifications: Our echocardiography program is accredited through Intersocietal Accreditation Commission of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL), our echocardiologists are certified by the National Board of Echocardiography and our technicians (sonographers) are certified through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Cardiovascular Credentialing International.
  • The latest techniques: Complex conditions require the most advanced diagnostics. We offer the latest testing procedures available.
  • 24/7 access: Our team is available for both routine test referrals and emergency cases.

What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram uses ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves) to produce images of your heart. This test, which is either noninvasive or minimally invasive depending on the type, gives your doctor more information about your heart’s structure and function as it beats and pumps blood.

Why do I need one?

You may be referred to our echocardiography lab for many reasons:

  • Medical history: For example, if you have a history of heart attack or previous cardiac surgery, transient ischemic attack or stroke, or rheumatic fever, an echocardiogram may be used to assess the condition of your heart and any damage following these.
  • Heart arrhythmia: Irregular heart rhythm, including atrial fibrillation. Left untreated, an arrhythmia can lead to heart attack or stroke.
  • Heart murmur: This is an unusual sound that can be heard between your heartbeats. While murmurs are often harmless, they may also be a sign of another condition.
  • Congenital heart defects: These are structural heart defects that are present at birth.
  • Heart valve problems: These can cause a variety of symptoms, including shortness of breath and chest pain. They include aortic valve disease, mitral valve disease, pulmonary valve disease and tricuspid valve disease.
  • Abnormal heart size: An enlarged heart may be caused by a number of related conditions, including heart valve issues, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure (hypertension) or other cardiovascular conditions.
  • ECG follow-up: If you had an abnormal electrocardiogram result, you may be referred for an echocardiogram, which provides more detailed information about the heart’s pumping ability.
  • Heart strength and failure: This test can be used to assess the risk for heart failure.
  • Pre-surgery clearance: Certain surgical procedures, and the anesthesia used during them, can affect heart rate and pumping ability. If you have a history of heart disease or symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath, your doctor might order an echocardiogram prior to surgery.

What types of tests do you offer?

Depending on your specific medical history, condition and symptoms, we might recommend one or more tests. Our echocardiography program offers the most advanced techniques available, including:

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