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ECHOCARDIOGRAM

Ultrasound images are acquired by using high frequency sound waves. There is no radiation involved. These sound waves penetrate the body and reflect back to the transducer to produce an image on a monitor. A permanent record of the exam will be made. Videotaping or cell phone pictures are not allowed.

An echocardiogram (echo) is a graphic outline of the heart’s movement. During an echo test, ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves) from a hand-held wand placed on your chest provides pictures of the heart’s valves and chambers and helps the sonographer 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.

The test is used to:

  • Assess the overall function of your heart
  • Determine the presence of many types of heart disease, such as valve disease, myocardial disease, pericardial disease, infective endocarditis, cardiac masses and congenital heart disease
  • Follow the progress of valve disease over time
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your medical or surgical treatments

Preparation and procedure

No Prep is needed for this test

  • Before the test, the healthcare provider will explain the procedure in detail, including possible complications and side effects. You will have the opportunity to ask questions.
  • You may be given a hospital gown to wear. You’ll be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up.
  • 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 gel on the end, which will not harm your skin. This gel helps produce clearer pictures.
  • 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 several times during the exam so the sonographer can take pictures of different areas of the heart. You may also be asked to hold your breath at times.
  • You may also be injected with a cardiac contrast material for better visualization of the heart. This will be determined by the technologist on the day of your exam.
  • This exam can take between 45-60 minutes.

On the day of your exam

Please arrive approximately 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to allow for parking and registration. Please plan to spend approximately one hour in our department. If you bring friends or family to the appointment they will be asked to wait in a waiting room during your scan. Children cannot be left unattended during your scan. Please arrange for a caregiver.

Results

Our radiologist will study your examination and a report will be forwarded to your practitioner, from whom you may obtain the results. If you have any questions regarding this procedure, please contact our department at at 608-342-4740.

Date of appointment _______________________________________ Time_____________________

Your procedure will be performed at Southwest Health at 1400 Eastside Road – Platteville, WI 53818. Please use the Main Hospital Entrance and check in at the Registration Desk prior to your scheduled procedure.

If you cannot keep your appointment please contact the radiology department at 608-342-4740 so that me may accommodate another patient.

NOTE: It may take 2-3 days to obtain verification from your insurance company for exams that require prior authorization, such as CT, MRI, Nuclear Stress, Injections, etc.