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Adult Echocardiography

During an echocardiography ultrasound (a.k.a. echocardiogram or ECHO), a registered cardiac sonographer employs pulses of high-frequency sound waves to evaluate the structure and function of the patient’s heart.

The practitioner moves a wand-like transducer across the skin of the patient’s chest and, as with a general ultrasound, echoes are produced and converted to images which appear on the ultrasound monitor, to be interpreted by the radiologist.

The echocardiogram results are used by your practitioner to assess the heart’s structure and function, in order to determine the following:

  • Aftereffects of a heart attack
  • Causes of arrythmias and palpitations
  • Function, integrity, and lesions involving the heart valves

PATIENT INFORMATION AND PREPARATION

Special Instructions

  • There is no need to fast prior to your ECHO
  • Take all prescription medications as instructed
  • Your skin should be kept clean and free of body oils, moisturizers and powders
  • Your clothing should be lightweight, comfortable and suitable for easy access to the skin of the chest
  • Please arrive at least 15 minutes in advance
  • Remove your Holter monitor (if any) during the exam
  • Please note: these appointments are for adults only and ShiftImaging does not book appointments for patients under 17 years of age

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR EXAM

This procedure requires access to your bare chest, so you may be asked to change into gown for the course of this exam

  • You will be asked to lie on your back on a tilt-in-space examination table
  • Small, sticky echocardiograph (EKG) patches will be applied to your chest
  • A fragrance-free, hypoallergenic ultrasound gel will be applied to the skin of your chest
  • A wand-like transducer or probe will be moved over the lubricated surface of your chest in order to obtain visual imagery of your heart and surrounds
  • You will be asked to shift position from your back to your side, so that the practitioner can obtain imagery of the heart from different angles
  • The practitioner may apply a slight pressure with the transducer, in an effort to obtain clearer imagery
  • Throughout the examination, you will hear the sound of your heartbeat, this Doppler ultrasound observation allows the practitioner to better asses the movement of blood through the chambers and valves of the heart
  • When the practitioner is satisfied with his/her captures and observations, he/she will help you to alight from the examination table before directing you to the change room (if necessary)
  • Once changed, you will be free to leave

WHEN TO EXPECT THE RESULTS OF YOUR EXAM

Our radiologists will interpret your information and aim to forward the results to your doctor by the end of the next working day.

WHAT YOU’LL PAY FOR THIS PROCEDURE

This exam is covered under your Alberta Health Care Plan.