An Echocardiogram may also be referred to as an
Echo, Transthoracic Echocardiogram, or TTE.
An Echocardiogram is a safe non-invasive test that is used to look for any heart problems. Ultrasound is used to create pictures of the heart from outside the body using sound waves from a small probe, which is placed on your chest.
Echocardiography can detect early signs of heart disease and identify heart abnormalities which will help assist doctors in seeking the proper treatment. It is a way to look at and assess heart function, including assessing blood flow through the different chambers of the heart. Your heart muscle, valves, large blood vessels and blood flow can be assessed in great detail. Important information about the blood pressures in the heart chambers and lungs is also provided by Echocardiography.
A Doctor might order an Echocardiogram test to assess the heart for:
problems in the heart or in the blood vessels around the heart which may be caused by high blood pressure or side effects from certain medications.
any abnormalities from abnormal findings on an ECG or Chest X-ray.
causes of chest pain, high blood pressure or palpitations.
valve conditions or to check the status of heart valve replacements.
causes of symptoms such as shortness of breath, leg swelling, chest pains or an irregular heart beat.
issues before and after surgery or a heart attack.
function after cardiac procedures such as having a stent or Pacemaker.
how well your heart medicines are working.
a pre-operative check particularly if you have any known heart issues or to check the cause of a murmur.
effects caused by cancer medicines such as Herceptin that is used in the treatment of breast cancer.
symptoms after COVID infections or COVID vaccinations.
an assessment for heavy vehicle, diving or aviation licences.
No preparation is required and you should continue to take your medications as directed by your Doctor.
What to expect during an Echocardiogram?
You will be asked to undress from the waist up and lie on the bed on your left side.
A small amount of gel is placed on your chest and the sonographer will press the transducer against your chest and move it to see your heart from different angles.
You may be asked to change position or hold your breath during the test.
The test should not take no more than 30 to 45 minutes.
The images are sent to the Cardiologist to assess and make a report.