Hypokinesia: What Is It And How Does A Sonogram Detect It?

Posted on: 21 April 2015

If your doctor suspects that you have hypokinesia and schedules a sonogram of your heart, you probably have many questions about your condition and diagnostic test. Hypokinesia occurs when your muscles change how they move in your body. When the problem occurs in your heart's muscle tissues, it can be potentially life-threatening because the change in movement can stop your heartbeat. A sonogram is the best tool to diagnose hypokinesia. A sonogram is a detailed and intricate picture or image of the inside of your body, including the heart muscles, heart valves and arteries. The guide below explains what hypokinesia is, as well as how a sonogram diagnostic test detects it.

What Is Hypokinesia of the Heart?

When you have hypokinesia of the heart, the heart's muscles don't contract or expand correctly. The condition develops from numerous health conditions, such as Parkinson's disease and dementia. But it can also develop from heart failure, cardiovascular disease, or myocardial infarction, which is also known as a heart attack.

The muscles of the heart squeeze together to pump blood throughout your body. If some of the muscle tissues die or develop disease, they can't push enough blood through the parts of the heart that open and close. In some cases, hypokinesia can affect all of the muscles of the heart without the proper treatment. 

Your symptoms may vary when you have hypokinesia. However, you may experience one or more of the following problems:

  • A shortness of breath as the heart strains to pump blood to your body's organs
  • Dizziness from the lack of oxygenated blood traveling to your brain
  • Chest pain, which may also be a symptom of heart failure and heart attack

It's critical that a cardiologist perform a sonogram of your heart right away to diagnose hypokinesia correctly.

What Type of Sonogram Will Your Doctor Use During Your Test?

Your doctor uses different types of sonograms to diagnose hypokinesia of the heart. For instance, some echocardiograms use Doppler ultrasound technology and a computer to see inside the heart, as well as to hear the heart as it beats. These types of tests may pick up weakened or slowed heart muscle tissue quicker because of the advanced nature of the technology behind them.

Other types of sonograms require the use of special equipment, such as ultrasound wands, to locate, transmit and display the images on a computer screen. A contrast sonogram or ultrasound require a heart specialist to inject a dye into your veins to help the images of the heart show up better on a computer's screen.

No matter what type of heart sonogram you need to complete for your diagnostic testing, you must take the proper precautions and make the right preparations for it.

How Do You Prepare for Your Heart Sonogram?

You should go to bed early before your test day. The lack of sleep or rest can affect your heart by making it beat faster or slower when your body is tired. If your doctor needs to measure the correct beats of your heart during the sonogram, your heart may give off an accurate reading. You'll end up retaking the sonogram at another date.

It's a good idea to ask your heart doctor if it's okay to eat or drink anything before your test. Although most diagnostic tests require you to avoid eating or drinking the night before you take them, your doctor may tell you differently. This is particularly important if you currently take heart or some other types of medications that require you to eat before you take them.

Your doctor will give you specific instructions on what to do before your test day.

Are Heart Sonogram's Painful?

Heart sonograms are generally painless diagnostic tests that only take a few hours to complete. But contrast sonograms may be slightly uncomfortable when the doctor injects dye into your veins. The discomfort is typically short-lived once the testing process begins. 

You may wish to bring someone with you to drive you home, especially if you must take more than one sonogram during your appointment. Your body may be tired after the doctor is done. 

If you have additional concerns about your medical condition or sonogram, contact your heart doctor or specialist for answers.