Can heart valve problems be diagnosed through an echocardiogram?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Yes, most valve problems can be diagnosed with a standard echocardiogram called a transthoracic echocardiogram. If the valves are not clearly seen using a standard echocardiogram, then contrast medication can be used to help see the images better or a "transesophageal" echocardiogram can be done. The transesophageal requires the patient to "swallow" a probe and images can be taken via the back of the heart because the probe is in the esophagus. A heart catheterization can also be done to assess the degree of heart valve trouble before heart valve surgery.

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