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What is an Echocardiography

An Echocardiography, more commonly referred to as an Echo Heart Scan, is an ultrasound test which allows the cardiologist to see accurate pictures of the heart muscle, the pumping chambers and the heart valves.

A probe is placed on the chest wall and an inaudible ultrasound beam passes out from the probe, reflects back from the structures within the heart and allows the cardiologist to build up an accurate image of the heart. A variety of views are taken to look at the heart structures. When these views are completed, a Doppler analysis is performed to analyse blood flow from chamber to chamber and across valves. More specialised analyses can be done looking at particular areas of the heart muscle, it’s movement and its relaxation. The whole procedure takes about 30 minutes and is non invasive.

What happens during an Echo Heart Scan


Parasternal short axis with mitral regurgitation.

If an echo heart scan is requested you will be given a gown and asked to undress to the waist. Stickers or electrodes will then be attached across the chest and wires or leads will be attached to the electrodes. The physiologist will then place a probe on your chest in various positions to acquire images of the heart. Sometimes this can be a little uncomfortable but it will not be painful. The physiologist will also use Doppler to look at the flow of blood and you may hear Doppler sounds from the Echo machine as your heart beats. The procedure takes around 30 minutes.

What happens a Echo Heart Scan

After your echo heart scan the images will be transferred to our electronic archive where a report will be written. Your consultant will discuss the results of the echocardiogram during your consultation.



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