Cardiac ultrasound – procedure cost and prices in the United States
Echocardiography (EchoCG) is a method of non-invasive cardiac imaging with the help of reflected ultrasound signals, which allows to evaluate the morpho-functional parameters of the heart structures. Several modes of echocardiography are used: M-regimen (one-dimensional echocardiogram), two-dimensional echocardiography, Doppler echocardiography, etc., which together allow evaluation of heart contractility, phase analysis, measurement of wall and cavity parameters, determine chamber pressure, etc.
Echocardiogram diagnoses heart defects and tumors, IHD, intracardiac thrombi, thoracic aortic aneurysm, exudative pericarditis, endo- and myocarditis, and other cardiopathology.
The diagnostic significance of echocardiography is extremely high. Being a highly informative non-invasive technique, echocardiography serves to detect changes in the heart that do not manifest themselves clinically and are not detected in the ECG.
Echocardiography is performed on special echocardiographs, equipped with an ultrasound generator with a frequency of 1-10 MHz, a sensor that senses reflected ultrasound signals, a transducer of ultrasonic waves into electromagnetic and a recording device that displays the studied structures of the heart as an echocardiogram. Modern devices-echocardiographs have an electrocardiogram channel for simultaneous recording of ECG and synchronized with a computer for fast and high-quality data processing.
In cardiology, one-dimensional echocardiography is used in the A-, M- and B-modes of echo mapping; two-dimensional echocardiography, as well as Doppler echocardiography.
Modifications of trans-thoracic ultrasonic cardiography are contrast echocardiography, transesophageal echocardiography, stress echocardiography. The cost of echocardiography depends on the type and technique of the study, the class of echocardiographic apparatus. Echocardiography requires the results of the last ECG, previously performed by EchoCG, daily monitoring of ECG and blood pressure (if available).
Indications for heart ultrasound
The objectives of echocardiography are the study of heart structures, near-cardiac space, the identification of pericardial effusion, intracavitary thrombus, scars, evaluation of the functional reserves of the heart.
Echocardiography is performed in patients with auscultatory determined cardiac murmur, detected ECG changes, complaints of retrosternal pains, interruptions, shortness of breath, increased blood pressure.
Echocardiography is prescribed by a cardiologist for suspected congenital or acquired defects, myocarditis, myocardial infarction, endocarditis, pericarditis, heart tumors, aneurysmal enlargement of the thoracic aorta, heart failure, arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy.
Dynamic examination of patients in the post-infarction period or after cardiosurgical interventions also requires echocardiography.
The procedure of echocardiography is recommended for patients with thrombophlebitis, varicose veins of the lower extremities to exclude the threat of PE.
Echocardiography can be prescribed for rheumatic diseases, after complicated infections (acute respiratory viral infection, influenza, angina), with endocrinopathy. In sports medicine, echocardiography is performed for persons experiencing intense physical activity. In women of the cardiologic risk group, echocardiography is included in the program of pregnancy management. If the embryonic cardiac pathology is suspected, fetal echocardiography can be performed starting from the 18th week of pregnancy.
Echocardiography has no contraindications and complications, it can be performed in seriously ill patients and children. Restrictions on Echocardiography are expressed obesity, gigantomastia, emphysema, chest deformities, local inflammation of the skin in the scan area.
Heart echogram: Method of conducting
Echocardiography should be performed by a specialist who is well acquainted with topography, normal morphology of the structures and functioning of the heart, possible abnormalities in various nosological forms and their imaging on the echocardiogram at different phases of the cardiac cycle.
Echocardiography is carried out for 20-40 minutes. The patient is placed on the back or left side. Different positions of the sensor located above the heart, provide a study of its various departments. The main accesses (windows) of the heart scan are parasternal (in 3-4 intercostal spaces), suprasternal (in the zone of the jugular fossa), subcostal (in the zone of the xiphoid process) and apical (in the projection of the apical impulse).
Transesophageal access is used during transoesophageal echocardiography.
All the positions used in echocardiography provide optimal visualization of the zones of interest in the sagittal, horizontal plane and the plane passing through all the chambers of the heart. Modern equipment for ultrasound of the heart allows performing various variants of echocardiography. With one-dimensional EchoCG, echo signals are displayed in the A-, M-, and B-modes. The most practical application was the M-mode, graphically reproducing the movement of the heart walls and valves, which is important for assessing the size of the heart and systolic function of the ventricles.
Two-dimensional echocardiography reproduces a section of moving cardiac structures along a short or long axis. During the two-dimensional echocardiography, the size of the cardiac cavities and the thickness of the ventricular walls is determined, the valvular function is evaluated, the global and local contractility of the ventricles is detected, and the thrombosis of the chambers is revealed.
With the help of Doppler echocardiography, central hemodynamics is investigated – the rate and direction of blood flow. For a full-fledged analysis of hemodynamics, pulsed-wave, continuous-wave and color Doppler regimes are used.
Cardiac ultrasound results
Usually, when performing echocardiography, a certain algorithm is followed. Initially, heart valves are identified taking into account their relative location; recognize cardiac septa (interventricular, interatrial), trace their continuity during polypositional and polyprojective scanning, evaluate the type of movement (normokinesis, hypokinesis, akinesis, discenezia).
They then proceed to assess the anatomical interposition of the interventricular septum and valves, as well as the character of the flaps. Further, in the process of echocardiography, the thickness of the walls and the dimensions of the heart cavities are measured, the presence and severity of myocardial hypertrophy, and dilatation of the cavities are determined.
At the final stage, Doppler echocardiography and a two-dimensional EchoCG are performed to exclude or identify stenoses, valvular regurgitation, pathological intracardiac blood shunting.
The conclusion of echocardiography can be given in paper or digital form. After carrying out transthoracic echocardiography, if necessary, a cardiologist is assigned other types of echocardiography.
Echocardiography cost and prices in USA
Echocardiography is an inexpensive, widely used diagnostic procedure. It is performed in many medical institutions of the capital and the region. Factors determining the price of EchoCG in United States are the type of study, the form of ownership of the medical diagnostic organization and the qualification of the specialist. With the use of modifications of the technique (stress echocardiography, transesophageal echocardiography, contrast study), the cost may increase.
In private centers, the procedure usually costs more.
When carrying out echocardiography by a highly qualified specialist (doctor of the highest category, CMN, DMN), the price of the technique is increased.