An echocardiogram is a test that can provide your doctor with information about your heart’s shape, size, and function. An echocardiogram is an ultrasound test of the heart, therefore it uses sound waves to create images. An echocardiogram will show your heart pumping blood, and whether it is doing so efficiently. In addition, it can also reveal enlargement of the heart and thickening of the chambers, weakened heart muscles, and heart valve issues.
If the echocardiogram is carried out incorrectly, it could miss key details about your heart. Whether it’s due to the sonographer’s inexperience or the patient being unprepared, an incorrectly performed echocardiogram test can yield results that leave a lot to be desired.
If you want to do your part in having a successful echocardiogram test, here are a few tips to help you prepare for it.
How To Prepare for a Transthoracic Echocardiogram
If you’re having a transthoracic echocardiogram, it means a transducer, which is a small sound-wave-emitting device will be placed against your chest and will be moved around by a sonographer. This type of echocardiogram is non-invasive and typically does not require any preparation. To make it easier for you, wear comfortable clothing on the day of your exam. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown, so you want to make sure it is easy to change out of your clothes.
How To Prepare for a Contrast Echocardiogram
In order to see the heart better, the sonographer may inject a contrast agent into your vein, which will make the images of the inside of the heart clearer. To improve the images of the heart, you may be asked not to eat a heavy meal beforehand. Make sure to let the sonographer know if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have lung problems, or have allergies, specifically allergies to medications and contrast agents.
How To Prepare for a Nuclear Stress Echocardiogram
A nuclear stress echocardiogram is a test that involves getting on a treadmill or exercise bike. The sonographer puts a small amount of radioactive tracer into your vein, and then pictures are taken of your heart before and after exercise.
Much preparation is needed for this test. You may be asked not to eat, drink, or smoke for a period of time before the test and will also need to stop taking certain medicines that can interfere with the results. On the day of the test, avoid drinking caffeine and do not put lotions or creams on your skin. If you use an inhaler for asthma, take it with you to the test. Since you will be exercising, wear comfortable clothes and athletic shoes. The doctor should provide specific instructions for this test beforehand.
The sonographer’s skill plays a large part in a successful echocardiogram. For this reason, you should choose a reputable diagnostic facility in Irmo, with highly skilled sonographers and well-maintained medical imaging equipment.
Echocardiogram in Irmo, SC
At SC Internal Medicine Associates & Rehabilitation, LLC., our highly skilled and experienced providers make sure our patients have all the information they need to best prepare for their scheduled echocardiogram. On the day of the exam, you can trust that we will make your comfort a priority.
We are an independent practice providing personalized and compassionate primary care and diagnostic services. To schedule your echocardiogram, call us today at (803) 749-1111 or use our convenient appointment request form.