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Echocardiogram - What do the colors mean?

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Old 10-17-2006, 12:35 PM   #1
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Echocardiogram - What do the colors mean?

This morning I had an echocardiogram to evaluate for an infection of the lining of the heart or its valves called endocarditis. The test went ok, but the technician wouldn't tell me anything. While she was doing the test -- she had colors on the screen -- blue, red, yellow -- sometimes a lot of blue, sometimes a lot of yellow, sometimes a stretch of red. What does this mean? Also, while she was doing the test -- it showed some heart rates across the screen, then all of a sudden they dropped about an inch and then continued across the screen -- does that mean anything?? I asked, but she just said that it would have to wait for the doctor to read the test. Any clues would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Last edited by brownowl; 10-17-2006 at 12:39 PM. Reason: typo

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Old 10-17-2006, 03:03 PM   #2
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Re: Echocardiogram - What do the colors mean?

Hi Brownowl,

Part of the echo exam is the doppler. It color codes blood flow around and through the heart. Especially enlightening to view any back flow through the valves. The height of the regurgitation is measured and gives an indication of the severity. And the location of the backflow is easily distinquished and seen on the screen as well as any inflammation with the different colors.

My tech was friendly and willing to answer questions and pointed out the screen images and their representation. However, he the doctor would decide the degree of severity for my mitral valve regurgitation, he did not want give an opinion.

The echo software does some calculations and explanations to be reviewed by the doctor before any diagnosis can be made. It is only one tool to be considered.

Old 10-17-2006, 09:07 PM   #3
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Re: Echocardiogram - What do the colors mean?

As ken said, the colors are used to show blood flow. Red and blue are oxygenated and unoxygenated blood depending on what they are looking at. As for the tracing of you heart rate. They do different things with your heart rate so dont worry about what you saw. Sometimes they slow the heart tracing wayyyyyyyyyyyy down to slowly show the valves move which stretches the tracing out. No worries about that. If you dont know how to read echos they are extremely hard to see anything other than the valves.

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