Echocardiograms provided at KHC examine your heart

KNOXVILLE, IA – Patients are now able to have echocardiogram services completed at Knoxville Hospital & Clinics (KHC) four days a week to help diagnose the source of heart issues.

You may benefit from an echocardiogram if you’ve experienced a heart murmur or defect, unexplained chest or upper arm pain, or a history of heart disease in your family. Patients who need to be cleared for surgery may benefit from the exam, as well as cancer patients undergoing radiation/chemotherapy.

What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram, one of the most popular diagnostic tests of the heart because there are no known risks or side effects, is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to produce two- and three-dimensional images of the heart structure and function. Echocardiograms are ideal for helping your health care provider monitor how your heart and its valves are functioning as well as accurately diagnose common heart issues, such as congestive heart disease, coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, and narrowed blood vessels.

Echocardiograms at KHC

KHC offers two-dimensional (2D) echocardiograms with color flow mapping which show the actual shape and motion of the different heart structures. The images represent “slices” of the heart in motion. This is a great baseline exam for any new or returning patient to understand the structure and function of the heart.

Using a small doppler, sound waves are sent to and from the heart to collect a picture of the muscle, valves, and blood flow. Color flow mapping, usually done in conjunction with the doppler test, shows the speed and direction of blood flow, but the images are in color allowing your health care provider to “map” abnormalities in blood flow.

KHC Echo Tech Abbie Pangburn, a graduate of Mercy College of Health Sciences and board certified in echocardiography, has always been fascinated by medical imaging and the heart.

“Throughout the two-year program of learning this specialty, I performed well over 500 echocardiogram exams, many of them independently, and just really enjoyed learning more about the heart and how it functions,” said Pangburn. “Being an Echo Tech allows me to have direct contact with my patients – something I missed from when I was a Certified Nursing Assistant.”

When having an echocardiogram, Pangburn shares that the exam can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes depending on how photogenic your heart is.

“After placing patients on their left side with their head elevated, I begin scanning the patient’s chest in four different locations to get different and accurate pictures of the heart. You may be asked to change positions and to exhale or hold your breath for a few seconds to help get those images,” said Pangburn. “In most situations, you will receive the results from your health care provider within a week.”

According to Pangburn, offering echocardiograms at KHC not only keeps patients close to home, but also offers them the flexibility when it comes to scheduling.

“Being able to provide echocardiograms four days a week is a great service for our patients,” said Pangburn.” Patients can have great confidence in the skill and accuracy of the test, without having to travel for care.”

A referral is needed from your health care provider to have an echocardiogram at KHC. To schedule an appointment with your health care provider today, call (641) 842-7211.

Knoxville Hospital & Clinics is a non-profit community hospital serving Marion County and the surrounding area. Named a “Top 100 Critical Access Hospital”, KHC’s highly skilled medical staff and specialists provide personal, compassionate, and innovative quality health care to patients. For more information regarding this release and other happenings at Knoxville Hospital & Clinics, call the Public Relations office at (641) 842-1485.