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ECHOCARDIOGRAM

An echocardiography ultrasound obtains images of the heart (also called an 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:

  • Causes of chest pain
  • Effects from a heart attack
  • Function of heart valves

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY EXAM?

  • You can expect to be at the clinic between 30-60 minutes, depending on your procedure(s) and barring any unforeseen delays.
  • Don’t wear body oils, lotions, or powders.
  • A Holter monitor can’t be worn during the exam.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to allow enough time to check in with reception.
  • Bring photo identification and your provincial health card.
  • Take all prescribed medications as directed.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Please do not bring children who require supervision.
  • SPECIAL NOTE: These appointments are for adults only. We don’t book appointments for patients under 18 years old.

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.
  • A warm, non-scented, hypo-allergenic water-based ultrasound gel will be applied to your chest.
  • The sonographer will move the transducer (probe) around the area to gather images of your heart.
  • You will be asked to lie on your left side and your back to visualize the heart.
  • You may experience mild to moderate pressure while the sonographer takes the images.
  • You will hear sounds as the sonographer listens to blood flow.
  • The radiologist may come into the scan room after your exam to speak to you about your results. You will then be 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.

FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Please ensure that you bring your requisition with you to your appointment.

DURATION

30-60 minutes

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS