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Echocardiography

Santa Barbara’s First and Only Accredited Echocardiography Lab

The dedicated cardiologists and support staff at Sansum Clinic are continually looking for ways to more effectively meet the heart-health needs of our Santa Barbara community. As a testament to that commitment, our echocardiography laboratory recently received accreditation from the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL), making it the first to earn this distinction in Santa Barbara County. For our patients, this achievement means we offer the highest standards of quality and proficiency in the detection of heart disease.

About Echocardiograms

An echocardiogram (also called an ‘echo’) is a non-invasive ultrasound test that allows us to identify potential heart conditions early, as well as manage many types of heart disease.

The heart diagnostic test uses high-pitched sound waves sent through a device called a transducer, which picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart that are displayed on a video screen.

Types of Echocardiograms

Sansum Clinic's echocardiography lab offers all standard types of echocardiograms:

  • Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE): the most common type of test, offering views of the heart by moving the transducer to different locations on your chest or abdominal wall

  • Stress echocardiogram: performed both before and after your heart is stressed—ether through exercise or by injecting a medicine that speeds up and intensifies your heart beat—to determine if you have decreased blood flow to your heart

  • Doppler echocardiogram: looks at how blood flows through the heart chambers, heart valves and blood vessels. The movement of the blood reflects sound waves to a transducer. The ultrasound computer then measures the direction and speed of the blood flow.

  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE): the probe is passed down the esophagus instead of being moved over the outside of the chest wall. TEE shows clearer pictures of your heart, because the probe is located closer to the heart and the lungs and bones of the chest wall don’t block the sound waves produced by the probe. A sedative and an anesthetic applied to the throat make you comfortable during this test.

Scheduling an Echocardiogram

Echocardiography lab referrals are made through primary care physicians and/or fellow cardiologists. For more information, please call (805) 898-3138.

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