An echocardiogram is often called cardiac ultrasound or an echo. It is used to study the anatomy of the heart.

Benefits of Echocardiogram

1.    To evaluate blood flow across the valves.

2.    The test can evaluate the size of the chambers, the quality of the valves, measure the heart’s pumping ability, and identify other problems.

3.    It is a safe and effective way to view the inside of the heart.

You do not need any special preparation before the test.

  1. Before the test, you will be asked a brief history emphasizing current symptoms and pertinent family history.
  2. Electrodes (adhesive stickers that attach to wires) are attached to your chest so that an electrocardiogram can be recorded during the test.
  3. The room is darkened slightly for the technician to better see the picture of your heart.
  4. A technician places a cool gel on your skin and glides a transducer (a small probe) over different areas of the chest. Direct skin contact is essential. You will not feel discomfort.
  5. During the test, you will lie on your left side and may be asked to hold your breath for short periods of time. This helps improve the quality of the pictures recorded.
  6. The entire test takes about 30-45 minutes.

After the test is completed, a cardiologist will usually go over the results with you. If your test is normal, no further testing may be needed. Treatment depends on what is found during the test and your specific signs and symptoms.

Cardiac computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

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