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Ultrasound & Echocardiography | CT Questions | MRI Questions | X-ray Questions


Does ultrasound use x-rays or radiation?
No. Ultrasound (also known as a sonogram) emits high frequency sound waves (above the audible range of the human ear) to produce images of internal organs, tissues and vessels.
Are there any side effects from ultrasound?
No, there are no known side effects and it is considered to be very safe.
What happens during the scan?
You will be asked some questions about your health and in particular, your current symptoms. You will be invited to lie down on an exam table and the lights in the room may be dimmed so that the pictures on the television screen can be seen more clearly. A water based gel will be applied to your skin over the area to be examined, for example the abdomen. The gel allows the transducer to slide easily over the skin and helps to produce clear pictures. The transducer produces the sound waves and interprets the information into an image on a computer monitor and is recorded for interpretation.
Will it be uncomfortable?
Ultrasound itself does not produce any discomfort. Apart from the transducer on your skin, you will not feel anything.
How long does an ultrasound exam take?
This depends on the type of ultrasound exam your doctor has ordered for you, but usually between 15-30 minutes.
What is an echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound exam of your heart. The echocardiogram is a painless diagnostic ultrasound test that evaluates your cardiac function, letting your doctor know how well your heart is working. The atria, ventricles and valves of your heart are examined in a "live view" format that is recorded and subsequently interpreted by a board certified cardiologist.
What types of problems can be seen with an echocardiogram?
Look for the cause of abnormal heart sounds (murmurs or clicks), an enlarged heart, unexplained chest pains, shortness of breath, or irregular heartbeats.

Check the thickness and movement of the heart wall.

Look at the heart valves and check how well they work.

See how effectively an artificial heart valve is working.

Measure the size and shape of the heart's chambers.

Check the ability of your heart chambers to pump blood (cardiac performance). During an echocardiogram, your doctor can calculate the how much blood your heart is pumping during each heartbeat (ejection fraction).

Detect a disease that affects the heart muscle and the way it pumps, such as cardiomyopathy.

Look for blood clots and tumors inside the heart.

Look for congenital heart defects or to check the effectiveness of previous surgery to repair a congenital heart defect.

Check how well your heart works after a heart attack.

Identify the specific cause of heart failure.

Look for a collection of fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion) or a thickening of the lining (pericardium) around the heart.

How long does an echocardiogram take?
About 20-30 minutes.
What is a Doppler?
This is another type of ultrasound test that is used to evaluate how blood flows through an organ, blood vessel, heart valve or chamber. The Doppler examination measures the direction and speed of blood flowing through various areas of the body.
Who performs my ultrasound examination?
A registered sonographer will perform your examination.
Who interprets my ultrasound examination?
Ultrasound exams are interpreted by a board certified radiologist.
Are there any preparation instructions for my ultrasound or echocardiogram?
Sometimes . This depends on what type of exam your doctor has ordered. When you call to schedule your examination, our staff will let you know if any preparation is needed. The most common preparations for ultrasound testing might include fasting, or arriving with a full bladder.