MetroHealth Heart & Vascular Center
What is an
An echocardiogram (often called "echo") uses sound waves to produce an image
of the heart's movement. During an echocardiogram test, ultrasound
(high-frequency sound waves) that come from a hand-held wand (transducer) placed
on your chest, is used to provide pictures of the heart's valves and chambers
and help your doctor evaluate the pumping action of the heart. Echo is often
combined with Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler to evaluate blood flow across
the heart's valves.
What is Echo used for?
- 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
- Follow the progress of valve disease
What can I Expect?
- You can wear whatever you like
- 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 doctorBefore the test the procedure will be explained in
detail, including possible complications and side effects. They will be
available to answer any questions you may have.
- You will be given a hospital gown to wear. 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
- 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 echo test takes about 40 minutes
- 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