What is it? An echocardiogram is an ultrasound study of the heart. Ultrasound is a method of testing which transmits sound waves from a transducer on the skin to the heart and back to the transducer. The signal is transformed into a moving picture of the heart muscles, valves, and flow of blood through the heart.
What happens during the test? The test is simple and painless. You are asked to lie on a stretcher for approximately thirty (30) minutes while a sonographer moves a transducer over various areas of your chest. A gel will be used to improve the quality of the pictures. Each of the four valves inside the heart is evaluated to determine whether or not there are leaking valves (regurgitation), stiff valves (stenosis), and congenital (present from birth) abnormalities. The four chambers, which make up the heart, are evaluated for size and thickness.
Preparing for the Test:
Do not use any powders, lotions or oils on your chest.
- Take all medications at your regularly scheduled time, unless your physician tells you otherwise.
- Wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes, but please no dresses, skirts or nylons.
- Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time.
- Plan on your appointment lasting approximately 45 minutes.
- Following your test you should be able to drive. However, if you are not feeling well we will not allow you to leave until you feel better.