Diseases of the heart can take on many forms and may not even be related to initial issues with the muscles. For instance, there are many types of bacterial infections that may cause severe damage to the heart that can be dangerous and hard to manage. Diagnosing heart valve infections (endocarditis) with an echocardiogram is a critical step that helps to protect many people from lifelong heart damage.
Endocarditis Can Be Tough to Diagnose
Endocarditis can become quite dangerous if it is allowed to worsen. For example, many types of bacteria and infections may spread throughout the valves and cause damage, impacting a person's health in severe ways. However, this condition is sometimes hard to diagnose because it often causes symptoms that can be easily misinterpreted as something else.
For example, some people feel like they have the flu or a cold, while others may experience nausea or chest pain that may feel like a cough. Unfortunately, this confusing array of symptoms may leave a person exposed to a risk of developing more serious conditions, meaning that it may be necessary for those who are worried about this danger to get a high-quality echocardiogram to diagnose their health.
Ways an Echocardiogram May Help
Echocardiograms are a unique diagnostic tool that utilizes sound waves to scan the interior of the body, particularly the heart. Doctors can utilize this method to find damaged heart muscles and spot potential infections that may be spreading throughout a heart and onto the valves. They can then track this problem throughout a person's whole body to get an idea of how severe it has impacted their health.
Most of the time, an echocardiogram should take no more than an hour to properly execute, though some examinations may take longer based on the state and extent of the infection. And few, if any, side effects impact those who go through this diagnostic process – unlike X-rays or other scans, an echocardiogram does not use radiation or other dangerous elements to scan the inside of the body.
Thankfully, most hospitals should have this diagnostic cool and professionals who can fully utilize its full range of diagnostic prowess. In this way, it is possible for those who are suffering from endocarditis to get treatment that can manage it, such as antibiotics that will kill various types of bacteria and control their spread throughout the body. Some may even need valve repair or replacement surgery, with the echocardiogram giving a good gauge on what type of surgery must be performed. For more information about echocardiography, contact a medical clinic or service.