An echocardiogram employs sound waves to generate images of the heart. This widely used examination can illustrate the blood flow within the heart and its valves. Healthcare providers utilize the images derived from this test to detect heart disease and various other cardiac conditions.

Why it is done

An echocardiogram is performed to assess heart health, examining how blood flows within the heart chambers and valves. Your healthcare provider might request this examination if you experience chest pain or breathlessness.

Before the test

There are no specific requirements for a standard echocardiogram. You can maintain your routine of eating, drinking, and taking medications as usual.

During the test

You will be asked to take everything off from the waist up and put on a gown. The technologist will take you into the exam room. You will then be asked to lie on the bed on your left side.

The technologist will place stickers with electrodes on your chest to monitor the heart rhythm during the exam.

They will position a handheld wand, known as a transducer, on the exterior of your chest to transmit sound waves to your heart. These sound waves reflect various components of your heart. A small quantity of gel is applied to the tip of the wand, which is safe for your skin. This gel aids in generating clearer images.

You may hear swishing sounds throughout the test. This is normal. It means you’re hearing blood flowing through your heart as the wand picks up the sound.

Throughout the test, your sonographer may ask you to hold your breath for several seconds at a time. You may also need to move into a different position.

You should feel no major discomfort during the test. You may feel a coolness on your skin from the gel on the wand. You may also feel a slight pressure of the wand against your chest.

These reflections, or “echoes,” subsequently manifest as images on the sonographer’s computer screen. Additionally, these images can be stored for later review by your cardiologist and physician.

After the test

Once the test is completed, you are able to return to your normal activities.


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