How is an Echocardiogram Performed?

How is an Echocardiogram Performed?

An echocardiogram is a non-invasive diagnostic test that uses sound waves to create images of the heart. It is a valuable tool for evaluating the structure and function of the heart, helping doctors diagnose and monitor various heart conditions. But how exactly is an echocardiogram performed? Let's take a closer look.

What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram, also known as an echo, is a type of ultrasound test that produces real-time images of the heart. It allows doctors to visualize the heart's chambers, valves, and blood flow patterns. This information helps them assess the heart's overall health and detect any abnormalities.

Preparation for the test

Prior to the echocardiogram, the patient will typically be asked to remove any clothing from the waist up and put on a hospital gown. They may also need to remove any jewellery or accessories that could interfere with the test. In some cases, the patient may be asked to avoid eating or drinking for a few hours before the test.

The procedure

The echocardiogram is usually performed by a trained technician called a sonographer. The patient lies on an examination table, and the sonographer applies a gel to their chest. This gel helps transmit the sound waves and improve image quality. The sonographer then places a small device called a transducer on different areas of the chest to capture the images.

Types of echocardiograms

There are several types of echocardiograms, including:

  • Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE): This is the most common type of echocardiogram. The transducer is placed on the chest wall to obtain images of the heart.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE): In this type of echocardiogram, a specialized transducer is inserted into the esophagus to obtain clearer images of the heart.
  • Stress echocardiogram: This test combines an echocardiogram with exercise or medication to evaluate the heart's function under stress.

Echocardiogram Images

Duration and discomfort

An echocardiogram typically takes about 30 to 60 minutes to complete. The procedure is generally painless and non-invasive, although some patients may experience mild discomfort from the pressure of the transducer on their chest. In the case of a transesophageal echocardiogram, the patient may be given a sedative to help them relax.

Interpreting the results

After the echocardiogram, a cardiologist will review the images and interpret the results. They will look for any abnormalities in the heart's structure, such as enlarged chambers or leaky valves. They will also assess the heart's pumping function and blood flow patterns. Based on the findings, the cardiologist can make a diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment if necessary.

Where to receive an Echocardiogram

VEC provide the best echocardiograms with locations all over Victoria. To visit their webpage, click here.

In conclusion

An echocardiogram is a valuable diagnostic tool that provides detailed information about the structure and function of the heart. By understanding how an echocardiogram is performed, patients can feel more at ease during the procedure and have a better understanding of the results. If you have any concerns about your heart health, consult with a healthcare professional who can determine if an echocardiogram is necessary.



1. Transesophageal Echocardiogram | Johns Hopkins Medicine

2. VEC Homepage

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