A resting echo or transesophageal echo is primarily used in the routine testing for cardiac issues or health maintenance especially when you get to be an older adult; both do not produce actual images of the heart so the appearance of the heart cannot be seen to further evaluate a necessity for advanced or immediate workup.
With both types of echo's cardiac professionals evaluate measurements of arteries and ventricles to determine if the heart is safe and in optimal function with regard to blood flow. But, to see the heart and to note if there is any abnormal appearance can also be useful in preventing cardiac problems; because if a heart is seen and it's decay becomes noticeable then a patient may be treated for heart disease sooner rather than later based on the actual views and images of the actual heart.
The problem is that camera imaging with regard to the heart and subsequent technology has not made it's way to viewing actual images of the heart within the physicians office or clinic. Any procedure to view the heart is done in the hospital. It may be time for cardiac imaging to be used in the physicians office to reduce the amount of patients with heart disease from having heart attacks based upon the decay of the heart or it's unhealthy appearance.
If a series of small pills were to act as a camera so that an ultrasound probe or scanner could obtain actual images of the heart, when placed against the chest- would it be worth viewing knowing that you can gather all of the real time imaging needed and measurements of the valves and ventricles to accurately determine the health of a patients heart? What if you could actually visualize a decaying heart and what would you do? If a patient were going for a resting echocardiogram and actual heart imaging by the use of several tiny camera pills or pellets, would you consider this a complete echocardiogram study?
The procedure format would be as follows:
The patient would walk into the exam room and be given a robe to change into. If female, a chaperone would enter the room along with the cardiac sonographer who will then prepare the patient for the resting echo. Then the physician or assistant will enter the exam room to administer the camera pills or pellets that the patient will take by mouth along with water and then immediately lay down so that the camera pills or pellets by time release will slowly descend down the esophagus as they move past the heart so that images of the heart can be seen. The tiny pills or pellets are removed by normal body waste so there is no procedure needed to remove them after digestion. Since the pills or pellets are capable of taking 3D images it is possible that when the probe is moved around on the patients chest all views of the heart can be seen. This is because the tiny pills or pellets are on a sound wave frequency that is the same as the ultrasound probe. By doing this both the pills and pellets along with the ultrasound probe can communicate with each other, so that the probe can quickly be the lens of the pellets or pills so that many pictures of the heart can be obtained. This would be the reason for taking more than one pill or pellet. Such a technique may be useful in monitoring aortic aneurysms. As the pill or pellets enter the stomach, the resting echo can be done. Afterwards, the patient may get dressed and drink more water and either see the doctor if necessary or make a follow-up appointment. Now, the physician will have an actual view of the heart's physical appearance and can use the measurements obtained from the resting echo to evaluate and compare any abnormality regarding the heart overall.
The saying goes: A picture is worth a thousand words. Heart attack only uses two of them...