A Transthoracic Echocardiogram, also called an echo, is a complex, non-invasive examination that uses ultrasound to image the heart. This examination provides detailed live images of the heart’s muscle pump and the valves, and gives a highly accurate assessment of the overall health of your heart. An Echocardiogram is not used to assess the coronary arteries.
Once you arrive, you may be asked by the sonographer to change into a gown and to lie on an examination table. You will be covered during your examination except for the area required to be examined. The sonographer who will perform your examination will apply a warm layer of gel to your chest. This allows for good contact between the skin and the ultrasound transducer. You may be required to move into different positions or to hold your breath from time to time so the best images can be obtained. The examination should take approximately 30 to 40 minutes to complete.
As with any medical issues, this is something that you should discuss with your doctor or specialist and if they feel that this test is required or appropriate, then a referral can be issued.