Posted 2/27/2010 9:37 AM (GMT -7)
I am going to assume you had the 2-D (2-dimensional) echocardiography?
A 2-D echo will provide you with the following information:
Size of the chambers of the heart, including the dimension or volume of the cavity and the thickness of the walls. The appearance of the walls may also help identify certain types of heart disease that predominantly involve the heart muscle.
Pumping function of the heart can be assessed by2-D echocardiography. One can tell if the pumping power of the heart is normal or reduced to a mild or severe degree. This measure is known as an ejection fraction or EF. A normal EF is around 55 to 65%. Numbers below 45% usually represent some decrease in the pumping strength of the heart, while numbers below 30 to 35% are representative of an important decrease.
Valve Function: Echocardiography identifies the structure, thickness and movement of each heart valve. It can help determine if the valve is normal, scarred from an infection or rheumatic fever, thickened, calcified (loaded with calcium), torn, etc.
Volume status: Low blood pressure can occur in the setting of poor heart function but may also be seen when patient's have a reduced volume of circulating blood (as seen with dehydration, blood loss, use of diuretics or "water pill.", etc.). In many cases, the diagnosis can be made on the basis of history, physical examination and blood tests. However, confusion may be caused when patients have a combination of problems. Echocardiography may help clarify the confusion.
Echocardiography is useful in the diagnosis of fluid in the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart). It also determines when the problem is severe and potentially life-threatening. Other diagnoses made by echocardiography include congenital heart diseases, blood clots or tumors within the heart, active infection of the heart valves, abnormal elevation of pressure within the lungs, etc.
Technically ... a heart cath is considered first choice for the diagnosis of coronary artery disease.
I hope your blood clutures give you some answers to your problems.
Take care and I hope this has helped explain your test a bit better.