Echocardiography (echo) is an imaging technology that uses ultrasound to create images of your heart. It is a diagnostic test used to examine the structure and function of your heart muscle, valves, and major vessels supplying and exiting from the heart. An ultrasound probe will be placed on your chest in various positions to obtain the necessary pictures.
- A sonographer will explain the test to you and answer any questions you may have.
- You will be asked to remove all upper body clothing, put on a gown with the opening to the front, and lie down on an examination table.
- Adhesive electrodes will be applied to your chest to monitor and record electrocardiogram (ECG) signals.
- While lying on your left side the sonographer will apply some gel, then the probe on your skin.
- Images of the heart will be recorded and various measurements will be taken.
- The data will be reviewed by a cardiologist after the test is completed. A report will be sent to the doctor(s) involved in your care.
- For some studies an injection of a contrast agent* to enhance the image quality may be used.
- Always bring your Health Card and updated medication list or the actual meds to every visit.
- There is no specific preparation required for an echocardiogram. You can eat and drink as usual prior to the test. Take your usual medications unless otherwise directed by your physician.
- There are no restrictions after the echo.
- The echocardiogram takes about 45 minutes to complete.
- Do not use any scented skin products in the form of talcum, lotion, perfume, cologne, aftershave etc.
- If you are a smoker please wear clothing in which you have not smoked.
- Wear clothing that is easy to remove (upper body)* Contrast agents are special material injected through an IV. They are microbubbles that are so small they pass through the lungs and enter the heart. Image quality is improved in some cases. The contrast agent can be used with resting or stress test studies.