What is an echocardiogram test?
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound test of the heart. This test may be used because you have told your doctor about certain symptoms such as breathlessness, or as a screening test to assess the size, shape, and structure of the heart. The test will provide information regarding how the blood is flowing, and how the valves and chambers of the heart are working. It is a pain free test that usually takes no more than twenty minutes to perform.
What will happen to me?
You will be guided to the room where the ultrasound machine is. You will be provided with a changing area where you can put your belongings and clothes. You will be asked to undress from the waist up, and will be given a gown to wear. You will be asked to lie on a couch on your left hand side. Some ECG electrodes will be placed on your shoulders in order to record your heart rate throughout the test.
The person performing the test will turn down the lights, as this helps to see the images clearly. They will place some jelly on your chest and then into the jelly place a small probe on the surface of your skin like in the picture (coming soon). They will then record a series of pictures and measurements about how your heart is working. You may be able to watch as the pictures are being recorded, and also hear your own heart beat.
What happens next?
Once the test has been completed you will be provided with a towel to wipe the jelly from your skin, and you can then get dressed. You will then be taken back to the room with the doctor in order to discuss the results and he will answer any questions that you have.