There are many reasons why your doctor might refer you for an Echocardiogram.
Shortness of breath
Lack of stamina
Evaluate heart murmurs
…and many more
As an Echocardiogram is a type of Ultrasound, a specialist ultrasound technician called a Sonographer will perform this examination.
In most cases you will be required to remove any clothing from the waist up. The sonographer will apply a gel to your chest and pass a marker pen shaped instrument called a transducer over the gel. Images of your heart and surrounding blood vessels should then appear on a screen in front of you showing live images of the blood flow through the heart and surrounding valves. Once the sonographer is satisfied that there are accurate images of all the relevant valves and arteries your examination is over. The images are assessed and reported upon by a Radiologist. This report will be sent straight to your doctor. Once you have your films you are finished. Remember to take your film to your next doctor’s appointment. In most cases the whole process takes less than an hour from entering the building and leaving with your images.
Other than the initial cool feeling of the gel on your chest you should not feel any pain or discomfort during an Echocardiogram.
Echocardiograms can show if there is any blood clotting, restricted flow or excessive pressure on the heart valves and surrounding blood vessels. As Echocardiograms are a type of ultrasound they show images in real time motion they can show the efficiency of the flow at the exact time of scanning. This can be used to create a measurement of the flow of blood through the major blood vessels entering and leaving the heart.
No. It is advised, however, that you wear loose fitting clothing for your comfort.
Yes. Only Sonographers who have specialist training in Echocardiography can perform this examination so you must book first to ensure that there is one on site.