What is echocardiography?

Echocardiography (echo) is the name given to the ultrasound examination of your heart. It assesses the structure and function of your heart muscle and valves. It is a test in which high frequency sound waves are used to create a moving picture of your heart.

How do I prepare for echocardiography?

No preparation is required for this examination.

What happens during the echocardiology?

During your appointment, the scan will be conducted by a Sonographer. The Sonographer will put a probe on your chest and move it around to gather relevant information relating to your heart’s structure and function.

The results will be reviewed by either a Radiologist or Cardiologist. From their findings, they will send your doctor a detailed report.

Are there any side effects of the echocardiology?

Usually, you can resume your normal daily activities after an echocardiogram.

Treatment depends on what’s found during the exam and your specific signs and symptoms.

How long does the examination take?

The scanning time will be approximately 40 minutes, though this time may vary depending upon the findings.

What are the risks of echocardiology?

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound examination that is very safe to perform.

What are the benefits of echocardiology?

A major benefit of the echocardiogram is that it gives information about the heart’s structures and function.

The information gained from the echocardiogram gives an accurate diagnosis and allows your doctor to develop a treatment plan that is best for you.

The Cardiologist mentioned a “bubble study” was going to occur during my echocardiogram. What does that mean?

A bubble study gives added information, as it can identify potential blood flow issues inside your heart.

For the bubble study, you will get an intravenous (IV) line in a vein in your arm. A saltwater solution called saline is mixed with a small amount of air to create tiny bubbles and is then injected into your vein. This fluid then circulates up to the right side of your heart and shows up on the echocardiogram image. You may be asked to cough, which briefly increases the pressure in the heart’s right side.

Normally, your lungs will simply filter out the bubbles. But if you have a tiny opening between your heart’s upper chambers (the right and left atria), some bubbles will move through that hole and appear on the left side of the heart. This opening is called a patent foramen ovale (PFO). About one in four people have this finding, which occurs when the hole—which is present in everyone before birth as a normal part of development—fails to close fully.