Technology Chat; Echocardiogram

Not as left field as you might think…

I was going to write on another topic this week but after a visit to the local hospital with a family member and sitting in whilst they had an Echocardiogram, I decided to say a few words about the experience because, as well as being fascinating and amazing to watch, it reaffirmed my belief that yet again, despite some indisputable downsides, technology has many positives.

I didn’t know anything about Echocardiography really before today other than it being some kind of scan but quickly realised it works the same way as a pregnancy scan, using ultrasound waves to produce images from inside the body.

It was amazing to watch the cardiologist at work and listen to his explanations as he carried out the procedure. The software looked really complex, and I must admit to being lost in admiration at the developers who produced it as well as his skill in working with it.

How did we get here then?

Like many tech stories, it goes back farther than we perhaps realise when we start doing a bit of digging. Actually, Bats use sound in a similar way to get about so you could say it goes back millions of years to be fair and Bats should get the credit along with Lazzaro Spallanzani who studied them in the 1700’s and started the journey to my sitting in the echocardiogram suite in 2023

The history of echocardiography specifically though, stretches back over 70 years when the first ultrasound images of the heart were produced using different echo ‘modes’ as the technology evolved to where it is today, able to ‘look’ at all the structure and blood flow of the heart using sound waves. I found a great video all about it which matches up to what I experienced ‘live’ as it were.

There are also as you would expect of course, smartphone ultrasound apps too. Star Trek science fiction now in our lives, maybe before too long we will be able to teleport too which would be really handy!

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