An echocardiogram is a scan that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to produce pictures of your heart. It’s a completely painless test, has no side effects, and uses no radiation. This test evaluates how well your heart is pumping and whether your heart valves are working properly.

Preparing for your test

Remember to bring:

  • Photo ID
  • Hospital card

You may take all your medications as usual and eat and drink as normal. If you would like to bring someone with you, you’re welcome to bring a friend or relative.

At the appointment

The test will be performed by a sonographer – a medical professional with specialized training in ultrasound. The sonographer not a doctor, which means that any questions you may have about your results will have to wait until you see a specialist physician in clinic.

You will be asked to undress to the waist, but you’ll be covered up appropriately. Once you lie down on the ultrasound table, stickers will be attached to your chest and connected to the machine, which will monitor your heart rate during the test. The lights in the room will be dimmed to make it easier for the sonographer to see the images of your heart.

An ultrasound probe (covered by a small amount of gel) is placed gently on the center of your chest and will be moved to different positions throughout the test – beneath the left breast, beneath the rib cage and to the base of your neck. This enables us to see images of your heart from a number of different angles, which are recorded and analyzed.

During the echocardiogram you will hear sounds coming from the machine, which represent blood flow through the heart. The test will take approximately 30-40 minutes to complete.

Once the echocardiogram is completed, there are activity restrictions - you can carry on as normal. You can drive to and from your appointment.

Your echocardiogram will be interpreted by one of our cardiologists. The report will be sent to the doctor who requested the test, who can show you the results at your next appointment.