An echocardiogram or “echo” is a test that uses sound waves to record a moving picture of the heart. The structure and function of the heart are examined.
Why you are having this procedure (symptoms/indications):
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may have ordered an echocardiogram to evaluate the heart’s size, pumping ability or valve function. Your test may have been ordered because you have an abnormal heart sound (murmur) or fluid around the heart may be suspected. This may also be ordered for complaints of shortness of breath, swelling, chest pain, and/or palpitations.
Prep for the procedure:
What to expect:
You will need to remove your clothing above the waist and wear a gown. You will be asked to lie on your left side during the test and may be asked to change positions during the test. The lights in the room will be dim. The sonographer will place a probe (ultrasound transducer) with gel on it on your chest. The probe will be moved around your chest to see different views of your heart. The test will take about 45 minutes to complete.
There are no known risks associated with this test.
Post procedure instructions/limitations:
You may resume your normal activities immediately following the test.
Did you know?
We offer echocardiographic screening of competitive athletes. Echocardiograms are performed on incoming college freshman athletes, to aid in providing cardiac clearance for participation in competitive sports. This screening provides early detection of rare abnormalities that may lead to sudden cardiac death. The most common cause of sudden cardiac death in competitive athletes is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is best diagnosed by echocardiography. Other abnormalities that may cause sudden cardiac death, including valvular heart disease, aortic root dilatation and left ventricular dysfunction, may also be detected by echocardiography.