Also, tell your doctor if you have a pacemaker.
Your doctor may also give further, more specific instructions if you have any other health condition.
Understanding the Results
Your echocardiogram results may show:
- Heart defects: An echocardiogram can detect problems with your heart chambers, abnormal connections between your heart and major blood vessels, and complex heart defects present at birth.
- Damages to the heart muscle: This test helps your doctor to determine if all the parts of your heart wall are functioning properly. Your doctor will look at your heart wall that has been damaged during a heart attack or receives less oxygen.
- Change in size of your heart: The chambers of your heart can enlarge or the walls of your heart may abnormally thicken due to high blood pressure, weakened or damaged valves, or other diseases.
- Valve issues and problems: An echocardiogram helps to understand if your heart valves open wide enough to help flow blood normally and close fully to prevent blood leakage.
- Pumping strength: The measurement obtained from the test includes the percentage of blood that is pumped out of a filled ventricle with each heartbeat and the volume pumped in one minute. When your heart does not pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs can lead to symptoms of heart failure.
Your doctor may ask to repeat an echocardiogram to monitor your heart health after recommended medication and treatment. It also helps your doctor to map future treatments.
Echocardiogram: What To Expect
- Before an echocardiogram, your doctor will explain the procedure in detail along with possible complications and side effects.
- Once in the laboratory or diagnostic room, you will then be asked to remove clothes above the waist and wear a hospital gown.
- A cardiac sonographer or doctor will place three small, flat, and sticky patches called electrodes on your chest.
- These electrodes are attached to an electrocardiograph (EKG) monitor that records your heart’s electrical activity during the test.
- The healthcare practitioner will ask you to lie down on an examination table.
- After that, the sonographer places a transducer on several areas of your chest.
- Your doctor will use a special gel that will help the transducer to capture clear images and to move the transducer smoothly on your skin.
- Your sonographer might ask to change positions to get every angle of your heart.
- Also, the sonographer will ask you to hold your breath at times.
This test will not cause any major discomfort. You may feel a slight coolness on the skin due to gel on the transducer and slight pressure on your chest due to the transducer.
An echocardiogram will take approximately 40 minutes. After the test, you may get dressed and be asked to go home. The sonographer might schedule your appointment for the reading of the test.
Learn more about Heart Disease here.