Putting It All Together

Here is a summary of the important facts and information related to ultrasound:

  • Ultrasound is a diagnostic procedure that uses painless and harmless high frequency sound waves inaudible to the human ear to view internal organs and produce images of the human body
  • One of the most common uses for ultrasound is to view the uterus and fetus during pregnancy. Ultrasound scanning is often performed about 16 to 18 weeks into the pregnancy.
  • Echocardiography is a specialized type of ultrasound that is used to look at the function and action of the heart. Among other conditions, echocardiography is used for the following:
  • To detect structural and some functional abnormalities of the heart wall, valves, and large blood vessels
  • To measures blood flow across the heart valves
  • Doppler echocardiography is a recently developed ultrasound technique that indirectly measures the flow of blood as it passes through the heart. Among other conditions, Doppler echocardiography is used to assess:
    • Malfunctioning heart valves in aortic stenosis or mitral insufficiency
    • Congenital heart disease
  • Ultrasound is being used more frequently in conjunction with fine-needle biopsy. The ultrasound is valuable in helping the doctor to guide the needle accurately to a specific target.
  • No special preparation is required for a routine ultrasound.
  • During the ultrasound examination, a machine called a transducer that both emits the sound and detects the returning echoes is placed on or over the body part being studied. The transducer sends the information it collects to the scanner, which generates the ultrasound image.
  • Normal activities can be resumed immediately after the test.
  • An ultrasound imaging procedure is safe and painless.

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