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Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Pediatric Echocardiography

What is Pediatric Echocardiography?

Mitral Valve DisplasiaEchocardiography, commonly referred to as echo, is the use of ultrasound to examine and measure the structure and functioning of the heart. An echocardiogram is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create an image of the heart's internal anatomy. Two-dimensional echocardiography is often combined with Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler ultrasound to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of the heart.

Pediatric echocardiography is mainly used for the detection of congenital heart defects. It is also used for the evaluation of murmurs and is an essential tool to evaluate the effectiveness of medical therapy and surgical treatments.

How is echocardiography performed?

Parasternal Short-AxisIn echocardiography a small probe, called a transducer, is placed on the patient’s chest and sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer is placed in certain locations and at certain angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the heart tissues where the waves bounce (or "echo") off of the heart structures. The transducer picks up the reflected waves and sends them to a computer. The computer interprets the echoes into an image of the heart walls and valves. These images are then evaluated by pediatric cardiologist.

Why is echocardiography performed on a child?

About 40,000 children are born with a heart defect each year. Most of these children can benefit from surgery even if the defect is severe. When surgery is necessary, many medical treatments are available to help the heart work properly.

The two types of heart disease in children are "congenital" and "acquired." Congenital heart disease (also known as a congenital heart defect) is present at birth. Some defects in this category are patent ductus arteriosis, atrial septal defects and ventricular septal defects. Acquired heart disease, which develops sometime during childhood, includes diseases such as Kawasaki disease, rheumatic fever and infective endocarditis. For more information on common congenital heart defects visit the Mayo Clinic and for echo images of congenital heart defects visit the University of Kansas Medical Center.

For more information about earning potential and work environment for sonographers, visit the Inside Scoop.


Tetralogy of Fallot Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers The (SDMS) was founded in 1970 to promote, advance, and educate its members and the medical community in the science of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) is an independent, nonprofit organization that administers examinations and awards credentials in the areas of diagnostic medical sonography, diagnostic cardiac sonography and vascular technology.

Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography The mission of the JRC-DMS and its sponsoring organizations is to cooperate to establish, maintain, and promote appropriate standards of quality for educational programs in diagnostic medical sonography and to provide recognition for educational programs that meet or exceed the standards.

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is the largest programmatic/specialized accreditation in the health sciences field. In collaboration with its Committees on Accreditation, CAAHEP reviews and accredits more than 2000 educational programs in twenty-one health science occupations across the United States and Canada.

For more information about earning potential and work environment for sonographers, visit the Inside Scoop.

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