An echocardiography ultrasound obtains images of the heart (called echocardiogram or ECHO) using a wand-like transducer or probe that emits high-frequency sound waves to evaluate heart structure and function. A registered cardiac sonographer will move the transducer across your chest and a computer will convert echoes from sound waves into pictures of your heart onto a screen. Your exam and the results are interpreted by a radiologist.
Your referring practitioner can use the results from your echocardiogram to assess heart structure and function in order to investigate:
- Effects from a heart attack
- Causes of chest pain
- Function of heart valves
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY EXAM?
- You don’t have to fast prior to the test.
- Take your prescribed medications as usual.
- Don’t apply body oils or powders prior to the test.
- Wear clothing that is easy to remove from the waist up.
- A Holter monitor can’t be worn during the exam.
- SPECIAL NOTE: These appointments are for adults only. We don’t book appointments for patients 17 years old or less.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING MY EXAM?
- An echocardiogram requires that your chest area be bare so you may be asked to change into a gown. You will then lie down on an examination bed.
- Small electrocardiograph (EKG) patches are applied to your chest.
- Your sonographer will apply a scentless, hypoallergenic ultrasound gel to your chest.
- The transducer will be moved around your chest to obtain views of your heart.
- You will be asked to change positions from your back to your side to view the heart from different angles.
- You may experience pressure from the transducer in order to optimize the images.
- You will hear noises, like your heartbeat, throughout the examination. This Doppler sound is assessing the movement of blood through the heart chambers and valves.
- At the end of your exam, your technologist will help you off the bed and guide you back to your change room. You are then free to leave.
WHEN WILL I GET MY RESULTS?
We do our best to have our radiologists interpret the information and forward the results to your doctor by the next business day.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
This exam is covered under your Alberta Health Care Plan. It is not currently offered at our Saskatchewan clinic.