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Question:

When is an echocardiogram necessary?

How often when there are no signs of heart problems? 

submitted by Rick from New Jersey on 4/23/2014

Answer:

Michael J. Mihalick, MDby Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Michael J. Mihalick, MD  

Dear Rick,
Unless you are being screened for an inherited condition such as a cardiomyopathy or participating in a research study, there is no reason to perform an echocardiogram if you are asymptomatic with a normal physical exam and normal ECG. Adding it to a routine history and physical provides no benefit.  Indeed, adding an ECG to the routine pre-participation evaluation of athletes has been shown to be of no benefit.  You should ask your doctor to justify it.

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Updated April 2014
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