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Normal echo -- kind of


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Does anyone here know anything about reading an echocardiogram? Morgan? Anyone?

I had a "normal" report, yet when I got a copy of it, the specific values for cardiac output and cardiac index were low, as well as a couple others ... I asked my sister about it; she's in family practice. And she said if the ejection fraction is normal, which it was (65%), then all the other numbers probably don't matter.

"Probably" didn't reassure me very much. I would like more info but don't want to be one of those nagging patients who is trying to double-check the cardiologist's work.

Also, my pulmonary pressure a year ago was 23, but is now 28 -- apparently anything above 30 is pulmonary hypertension. Since the whole reason I had this test done is because I am short of breath, that kind of concerned me ... Does this number vary from day to day, or is it gradually going up?

I got a copy only because one of my other doctors is outside of this network and can't see my results, and she likes to keep copies of everything.


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Amy, the numbers can vary. As a rule, things that are borderline or just a little off aren't really anything to be concerned about. If you have a little regurge in a valve or anything it can affect numbers a little. Usually with pulmonary hypertension a lot of things are off and the numbers are really high. Just get them on a regular basis and don't worry about it. In 95% of people with prolapse, it's not even mentioned in the report even though it would be considered abnormal. Your ejection fraction is great and I would think it would be way off with pulmonary hypertension. I get an echo once a year just as a follow up and the numbers are always a little different, but nothing to worry about. My thallium study showed my ejection fraction at 80 which is very high, my heart cath showed it at 70, and my echo at 60. 80 is indicative of hypertrophy which is an ugly thing to have, then it just kept dropping, so of course I knew I was going into heart failure. Then my doctor said, the most accurate reading is in the echo. so duh, all that worry for nothing. All my echoes are fairly consistant around 60 or so. But the other numbers tend to bounce around a little more. Not to worry honey! :) morgan

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I understand your concern. Sometimes it seems doctors either want to protect us by not giving us info they don't see as significant, or they think we don't know anything, so they don't tell us all of the details. Yesterday, I was at my family doc, and she was looking over reports sent from my cardiologist. I was told by the cardio that my stress echo was normal, but as she read his report she said something like "saw some changes in heart function and cardiac output ..." I didn't know there had been any changes...and, i can only assume he didn't think that was significant. I'm DEFINATELY the patient who gets home from the doc, and then comes up with forty billion questions I wish I would've asked....

Anyway, I don't know much about it all, but just wanted to say I feel your frustration in that regard. It stinks to be worried about all of this stuff....

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