Echocardiography

Our Philips CX50 ultrasound imaging machine uses sound waves above the range of human hearing (ultrasound) directed into the heart to generate reflections (echoes) that together build up an image of the heart as it is contracting . With the addition of Doppler technology, blood flow can be superimposed on the image to examine the flow of blood through the heart as it is happening (real time).

 

During the test, you generally lie on your back and left side; gel is applied
to your skin to increase the conductivity of the ultrasound waves. The test is painless and takes about half an hour.

Why is an Echocardiogram done?

 

An echocardiogram provides your physician with information about your heart without using surgery or X-rays. Echocardiography uses harmless sound waves (ultrasound) to produce an image of the heart. An echocardiogram allows your physician to determine the size of your heart, how your heart valves are working, and how well your heart is pumping. An echocardiogram is usually done to detect heart or blood vessel problems (such as heart attack, leaking valves, blood clots, and other normal or abnormal conditions).

 

How Does an Echocardiogram Work?

 

An echocardiogram uses sound waves (ultrasound) to record images of the heart. A transducer (a small device that looks like a microphone) is used to send silent sound waves into your chest. These waves bounce back to a receiver, producing a picture of your heart. The different parts of your heart send out different echoes that are recorded as pictures.

 

What do I need to prepare for my Echocardiogram?

 

Absolutely nothing

 

What is the procedure?

 

Your Echocardiogram will take approximately 1 hour. In order to monitor the electrical activity of your heart during your echocardiogram, ECG (Electrocardiographic) patches will be placed on your chest. This helps interpret your electrocardiogram.

 

You are usually asked to lie on your back or your left side. A watery gel is applied to your skin to aid the transmission of the ultrasound waves. A technologist or physician will perform the exam by firmly placing the transducer on your chest and moving it around to take different pictures of your heart.

 

During the procedure, the images of your heart will be displayed on a video screen. You will not be able to feel or hear the sound waves during the echocardiogram; however there may be some discomfort from the pressure of the transducer on your chest. You may also hear sounds as the machine is detecting blood flow.

 

What happens when the procedure is completed?

 

The results of your echocardiogram are available to your physician following the exam. Additional tests or examinations may be recommended.

 

Are There Any Risks?

 

Echocardiography uses ultrasound, which poses no known risk to the body. There is no X-ray exposure, and no surgical procedures are needed.

 

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Whangarei

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