What is an echocardiogram?
Echocardiogram or echo, is a painless test that uses sound waves to create pictures of the heart. The test provides information about the size and shape of the heart and how well the heart's chambers and valves are working.
The test also can identify areas of heart muscle that aren't contracting normally due to poor blood flow or injury from a previous heart attack. In addition, a type of echo called Doppler ultrasound shows how well blood flows through the chambers and valves of your heart.
It can detect possible blood clots inside the heart, fluid buildup in the pericardium (the sac around the heart), and problems with the aorta.
What happens during the test?
You will be treated in a private room as you will need to remove your shirt (you will be provided with a medical gown). Lubricated jelly will be rubbed on your chest to aid the electrical probe.
The probe will be placed on different areas of your chest to capture multiple pictures of your heart. Your consultant will be able to see the pictures of the heart through using the probe.
How long does the test take?
The test usually takes between 30-45 minutes. It is a safe test, and should be painless.