An echocardiogram (echo test) is a noninvasive diagnostic tool that uses electrodes to monitor your heart rhythm and high-frequency sound waves to capture three-dimensional images of the heart. Echocardiograms are used for detecting heart problems, such as damaged cardiac tissue, problems with the heart valves, weakened heart muscles, heart enlargement, among several others.
If you have strong risk factors for heart disease or are already showing symptoms thereof, such as chest pains and tightness, lightheadedness, and breathing difficulty, your doctor will likely recommend that you get an echocardiogram.
If you’re scheduled for an echo test, read on to get an understanding of how it is performed.
The Echocardiogram Procedure
Before starting the procedure, the sonographer will explain in detail what to expect during the procedure. Take this opportunity to ask any questions about the procedure, including risks and complications. The test is supervised by a radiologist or another physician.
Next, you will be provided a hospital gown to change into. Only the top needs to be removed for the procedure. Then, the sonographer will instruct you to lie on the ECG exam table to place the electrodes on your chest. The electrodes are attached to wires, which are connected to an electrocardiograph (EKG) monitor. The electrodes record the electrical activity of the heart.
After attaching the electrodes, the sonographer will then ask you to lie on your side. The sonographer will then apply a small amount of gel to your chest area. It may feel cool to the skin. The gel makes the transducer glide smoothly across your chest and helps keep you comfortable throughout the procedure. It also helps with creating clearer images of the heart. The sonographer will then run the transducer over your chest.
The sonographer will ask you to change positions and hold your breath several times during the exam. Both are necessary to yield clearer and more detailed results.
The sonographer will take measurements to evaluate the size of your heart and the thickness of its chambers. The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour.
The sonographer then goes over the results of your echocardiogram, forwards it to your attending physician, who will then explain the findings and devise an appropriate treatment plan when necessary.
Echocardiogram in Irmo, SC
At SC Internal Medicine Associates & Rehabilitation, LLC, we offer an extensive range of on-site diagnostic services—including echocardiography—as part of our commitment to provide comprehensive care to the men and women in our community. Our highly trained team of providers prides itself on its dedication to deliver the best patient experience while ensuring high-quality results.
To learn more about our services or to schedule your echocardiogram or another diagnostic test, call us today at (803) 749-1111 or use our online request form.