Echocardiogram Specialist

Donald Cedric Wallerson, MD

Cardiologist located in Bronx, NY

Echocardiograms use ultrasound waves to create detailed images that can be helpful in diagnosing and managing an array of cardiovascular diseases. Cardiologist Dr. Donald Wallerson is skilled in echocardiogram exams and evaluations, helping patients in The Bronx, NY, manage their risks and get the care they need to stay healthy.

Echocardiogram Q & A

What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is a diagnostic imaging exam that uses ultrasound energy to evaluate the structure of the heart and its function, especially when it’s under physical stress like exercise. Echocardiograms are completely painless and noninvasive, relying on a small device called a transducer that’s passed over the surface of the skin, transmitting ultrasound waves through the skin. As these waves come in contact with structures inside the body, they “bounce back” to the surface of the skin where the transducer captures them and transmits them to a computer. The data is then “translated” into detailed images that can be used for diagnosis and management of disease. In addition to evaluating the structure of the heart, the coronary artery, and surrounding structures, echocardiograms can also be useful for evaluating how well the heart is working.

When are echocardiograms performed?

Echocardiograms are prescribed for a variety of reasons, including:

  • evaluation of the heart’s chambers and valves
  • assessment of the flow of blood in and around the heart
  • evaluation of the heart following a heart attack, infection or another heart-related issue, including identifying
  • areas of damaged tissue and fluid buildup
  • diagnosing and assessing coronary artery disease and arterial blockages
  • determining the cause of chest pain
  • diagnosing and evaluating heart murmurs and arrhythmias
  • identifying structural abnormalities
  • managing long-term treatment or performing evaluations after surgery

What happens during an echocardiogram?

Echocardiograms can be performed right in the office. During the exam, the patient will lie on an exam table and a water-based gel will be applied to the skin and to the transducer. The gel enhances contact with the skin so the images are as clear as possible and it also enables the transducer to glide smoothly across the skin. As the transducer is passed over the skin, the patient may be asked to inhale deeply to gently lift the ribcage so the heart and the surrounding area can be viewed more clearly. Most echocardiograms take about a half hour to 45 minutes to perform. Sometimes, an echocardiogram will be performed during a stress test to evaluate how well the heart performs during physical activity like exercise.