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Echocardiography
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ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY
IRG utilizes the latest ultrasound technology for cardiac imaging.

  • Echocardiogram unit provides a full cardiac assessment

Echocardiogram (Echo, 2D echo, cardiac ultrasound, echocardiography)

Definition: An echocardiogram (often called "echo") is a graphic outline of the heart's movement. During an echocardiogram test, ultrasound ( high-frequency sound waves) that comes from a hand-held wand placed on your chest, is used to provide pictures of the heart's valves and chambers and help the sonographer evaluate the pumping action of the heart. An echocardiogram is often combined with Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler to evaluate blood flow across the heart’s valves.

Your doctor uses the echocardiogram to:

  • Assess the heart’s function
  • Determine the presence of disease of the heart muscle, valves and pericardium, heart tumors, and congenital heart disease
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of medical or surgical treatments
  • Follow the progress of valve disease

To prepare for echocardiography:

  • You can wear whatever you like. You will need to change into a hospital gown to wear during echocardiography. Do not bring valuables.
  • You may eat and drink as you normally would on the day of the test.
  • Take all of your medications at the usual times, as prescribed by your doctor.

What to expect during an echocardiography procedure:

  • Before the test, a cardiac sonographer (an allied health professional who has been trained specifically to perform ultrasound examinations), nurse or physician will explain the procedure in detail, including possible complications and side effects. They will be available to answer any questions you may have.
  • You will be given a gown to wear for your echocardiogram. You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up.
  • A cardiac sonographer will place three electrodes (small, flat, sticky patches) on your chest. The electrodes are attached to an electrocardiograph monitor (ECG) that charts your heart’s electrical activity.
  • The sonographer will ask you to lie on your left side on an exam table. The sonographer will place a wand (called a sound-wave transducer) on several areas of your chest. The wand will have a small amount of cool gel on the end, which will not harm your skin. This gel helps get clearer pictures.
  • Sounds are part of the Doppler signal. You may or may not hear the sounds during the test.
  • You may be asked to change positions during the exam in order to take pictures of different areas of your heart. You may be asked to hold your breath at times.
  • You should feel no major discomfort during the test. You may feel coolness from the gel on the transducer and a slight pressure of the transducer on your chest.
  • The echocardiogram test takes about 40 minutes. After the test, you may get dressed and go home or go to your other scheduled appointments.
  • After the cardiologist reviews your test, the results will go into your electronic medical record. Your physician will have access to the results and will discuss them with you.

Ask you doctor if you have any questions about the echocardiogram.