Echocardiogram (Cardiac Ultrasound)

Explanation of the Test

This test is designed to give your doctor more information about the working of your heart.

A transducer, a microphone-like device, is placed against your chest that sends out high frequency sound waves (ultrasound). These sound waves bounce off heart structures and are received by the transducer. The sound waves, which cannot be heard, are used to form a picture of your heart as it beats that is then displayed on a TV monitor and recorded on videotape as well as paper to create a permanent record. The only discomfort you may feel is the bulk of the transducer being held against your chest since the sound waves themselves are not felt.

The Doppler study uses the same transducer to examine the flow of blood through the heart and obtain more information regarding valve function. During part of the study, you will hear noises that represent blood flow but are not the actual sounds made by the heart.

Preparation

There is no special preparation necessary for this test.

General Information

  • The test takes about one hour.
  • You should continue to take your regular medications, unless told to do otherwise by your physician for another test.
  • There is no radiation (x-ray) involved with this test.
  • Any further questions about how the test is done should be asked of the technician when you arrive for the test or you can call the Heart Station at 773-665-3187.
  • Your doctor will receive the results after the test is interpreted by the cardiologist, usually within 48 hours.
  • If you are unable to keep your appointment or will be late, please call the Heart Station at 773-665-3187 as far in advance as possible.
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