An Echocardiography/Echocardiogram/transthoracic echocardiogram (Echo) uses sound waves to create a real-time picture of your heart, which enables your Cardiologist to assess how well your heart beats as well as visualising the structures and how the blood is being pumped in real-time. The test is safe, and non-invasive with no radiation. Using the images, your Cardiologist can detect structural and functional abnormalities of your heart.
Why is an Echocardiogram done?
Your cardiologist may suggest an echocardiogram if he or she suspects any structural problems in your heart (which can includes heart valves, cardiac chambers, or fluid around the heart). Which may cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest discomfort, dizziness, or blood pressure problems.
No special preparations are necessary for a standard transthoracic echocardiogram.
How is the test performed?
Gown will be provided as you will need to undress from the waist up. In Heart Health Specialist Centre, the test may be performed by a Cardiologist or a fully trained and accredited Cardiac Sonographer. The light will be dimmed to improve monitor visibility. Small patches (electrodes) will be attached to your chest to monitor the electrical current of your heart. A special gel is applied on the probe (sound wave instrument), which then will be placed on various positions on your chest. You may hear a “whoosing” sound which is the ultrasound interpretation of the blood flowing through your heart.
At times, the Sonographer may ask you to hold a breath; this will only last approximately 5 seconds at time.
The test is usually approximately 40 minutes; however, this may vary depending on the findings.
Once the test is finished, a towel or tissue will be provided to wipe off any remaining gel on your chest.
The images from the test can be viewed on the same day. Your Cardiologist may require more time to interrogate the images in detail to generate the full findings which will be available in two to three days.