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When considering echocardiograms vs. EKGs at Hollywood Diagnostics Center in Florida, it’s important to have a basic understanding of both tests. Both the echocardiogram and EKG are very important and are commonly used heart tests that are instrumental in diagnosing various forms of heart disease.

The echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart that provides moving pictures and provides information on the structure and function of the heart. The EKG is a heart tracing that mainly provides information on the rhythm of the heart. Both tests are often used in conjunction to each other.

Other Names

An Echocardiogram is also known as an ultrasound scan of the heart, an “echo”, or sonar of the heart. An EKG is also known as an ECG, a 12 lead EKG, or an electrocardiogram.

Both Are Considered Non-invasive

Both of these tests are considered non-invasive testing. Patients are not expected to feel any pain from either test.

When Are They Ordered?

The EKG is the most commonly ordered heart test. Basically, every patient evaluated for a heart-related issue or symptoms get an EKG. The echocardiogram is also very commonly used but not as common as the EKG. The EKG can also be considered a screening test that is done in almost everyone that has a history and physical. The echo is more specifically ordered when there are signs and symptoms of heart disease present.

How Are They Done?

EKGs – 10 small sticky pads on various places on the chest wall then leads from the EKG machine are attached. These leads transmit data that use the electrical activity of the heart to generate a tracing. For some men, chest hair may need to be shaved in places to improve contact and ensure a good tracing.

Echocardiograms – Patients are given a gown to wear and lie on a table specifically designed to perform the echocardiogram. Patients will typically lie on their left side. Ultrasound gel is applied to various areas of the chest wall then the ultrasound probe placed on the chest and the pictures taken.

How Long Do They Take?

EKG – The test itself takes about 5 minutes. Most of that is applying the leads; the tracing itself takes seconds to generate only.

Echocardiogram – In most cases about 20 minutes is needed to complete the test. 5 minutes of that is likely spent in preparation and 15 minutes used to take the pictures. In some cases depending on the specific information required the test can take longer.

What Information Do They Provide?

The EKG is heart tracing. It provides information on the rhythm and rate of the heart. Outside of heart rhythm disorders, abnormal heart tracings can point towards various disease states. Hearth rhythm disordered may include fast heart rate (tachycardia), low heart rate (bradycardia), heart blocks; irregular heartbeats (atrial fibrillation). In addition, it can provide clues regarding the enlargement of heart chambers and heart muscle abnormalities. An extremely important use of the EKG heart tracing is in the evaluation of suspected heart attacks. The EKG is the emergent test of choice in patients with chest pain.

The echocardiogram is an ultrasound scan of the heart that shows moving pictures that show the structure and function of the heart. It shows accurate information on the heart pumping function and heart chamber sizes. For this reason, they are a valuable test in the evaluation of heart failure. Echocardiograms also provide highly accurate information on heart valve function. They can be used to identify leaky or tight heart valves. While the EKG can provide clues to many of these diagnoses, the echocardiogram is considered much more accurate for heart structure and function.

If you live in Hollywood, Florida, or the South Florida area in general, and are in need of any medical imaging, then call the Hollywood Diagnostic Center today! Our medical professionals are ready and willing to help you through these difficult and trying times. All of the staff within is friendly and ready to answer any questions you have regarding any medical imaging technologies and procedures being taken during the public health emergency. Call the Hollywood Diagnostic Center at Phone: (954) 966-3600 today!

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