Echocardiogram

An Echocardiogram (Echo) uses sound waves to see how your heart is beating and pumping blood.

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Test Description

What is it?

Echocardiogram (“Echo”) is a non-invasive test that allows your doctor to see how your heart is beating and pumping blood.  It uses sound waves through a hand-held transducer to produce images of your heart.


Why do I need this test?

The procedure may be used to look for abnormalities of the heart muscle, valves or the main blood vessels. It may be ordered if there is suspicion of an enlarged or weakened heart, unexplained shortness of breath, dizzy episodes, and fainting.  An Echo can detect the cause of a heart murmur.


What are the risks?

An Echocardiogram is completely safe. It will not interfere with any electronic devices.  Sometimes the transducer may be cold on the skin. No X-Rays are used, and it is similar to foetal ultrasound performed during pregnancy. The procedure does not impair your ability to drive.


What to expect

Your echocardiogram will be performed at the clinic by a highly qualified Cardiac Sonographer.   After undressing from the waist up and changing into a gown, you will be asked to lie on an examining bed.   The sonographer will put sticky patches (electrodes) onto your body to monitor your heart rate. You may hear a pulsing “whoosh” sound, which is the machine recording the blood flowing through your heart. During the echocardiogram, you may be asked to breathe in a certain way or to roll onto your left side. Sometimes the transducer must be held very firmly against your chest. This may be uncomfortable but it helps the sonographer produce the best images of your heart.  Once the test is over, the gel is wiped off and the electrodes are removed.

Procedure will take approximately 30 - 40 minutes.

Preparation Details

No special preparations are necessary for a standard echocardiogram.


 

What Happens After The Test?

The results of the Echo will be made available to your referring Medical Practitioner. Urgent results will be communicated directly by telephone.


 

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