Tag Archive | doppler

Heart matters

As I had mentioned before, one of the drugs that I need to get by infusion every three weeks is Herceptin.  A serious side effect from this could be damage to my heart.  Because of this I have an echocardiogram done every so often.   Since I need herceptin until May guess the echocardiograms will continue until then as well.

Have you ever had one done before?  They connect a few electrodes with sticky tabs to your chest and connect them to a monitor that will chart your heart’s electrical activity.  I guess I’m not too radiated yet because no one got electrocuted in the process.  Then the sonographer (technician) uses something called an echo transducer (wand like device) and spends the next half hour taking an ultrasound of your heart and surrounding area.  They click and take what seems like thousands of pictures to check the functioning of the heart chambers, valves and surrounding blood vessels.  It almost makes you nervous wondering what they see that requires so many pictures!  They also look at the appearance and thickness of the walls, the dimensions of the cavity and the pumping strength of the heart.

In my case they also did a Doppler ultrasound that shows how the blood is flowing through the vessels, both the speed of the blood flow and the direction.  You can hear the “whooshing” and “swishing” as the Doppler records the flow.  To a novice like me it sounded like a child playing with a synthesizer or a voice warping device to see how strange they could make your heart beating sound and still sound like a thump-thump-thump.  I have a house full of musicians always experimenting and recording different sounds and I think they should try some of these!

The “echo” in echocardiogram is exactly that.  Ultrasound (high frequency sound) waves are transmitted from the transducer to the heart and bounced or reflected back (or echoed) to the transducer and transmitted as electrical impulses.  Determining the amount of time it took for the wave to come back and other factors, the machine can determine the size, shape, density and movement of objects in the beam’s path.  This is translated into an image on a screen giving a picture.  It’s the way you can detect fish or submarines in the water, or look at your unborn baby in the obstetricians’s office.  I wonder if you can use it to see what your children are doing in another room if you put the transducer on the wall?  Remember that this is  my layman’s description just giving an overview so you get the picture.  When they are finished, the results will get compared to the last one they took to see if anything has changed.  There is no preparation ahead of time and you don’t feel anything when it’s being done.  It’s in a darkened room so they can see the monitor more clearly but it also helps you to catch 40 winks or more.  Gee, I hope I didn’t snore!

I thought about how ironic this whole thing is in a way.  For man, he needs high technology in order to see the inner physical workings of the heart.  At the same time, he needs no technology to see the outward manifestations of the workings of this inner heart!   It has been said that under pressure, you can easily see someone’s true colors.   It is easy to see whether someone is kind, gentle, loving, or patient vs. full of hatred, jealousy, or rage to name a few. (Galatians 5: 19-23)  Having heart troubles?  Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (NKJV)  In the Message translation it reads, “I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands.”  We can be changed!  God is the chief cardiologist and is ready to give you a new heart if you allow His spirit to work in you and change you so you can bear good fruit and bounce back “good sound waves” to others.