Using ultrasound and color Doppler, different aspects of the
heart are studied
Machine: HP Sonos 5500 machine.
Preparation Instructions: No
Appointment: Not Required
Time Taken: 20-30 minutes
Report Given: Same day if the study is done before 12
noon, otherwise the next day.
Special Comments: Dr. T. P. Singh D. M. Cardiologist,
performs all the studies.
What is an
An echocardiogram is as safe, non invasive procedure used to
diagnose cardiovascular disease. It is a technique that has
been used for over 50 years. By using high-frequency sound
waves, an echocardiogram allows doctor to visualize the
anatomy, structure, and function of the heart. This window
to the heart enables the doctor to diagnose a number of
cardiovascular diseases, so they can begin proper treatment.
How does it work?
It uses high frequency sound waves to show a picture of the
heart on a television screen. It is very similar to the high
frequency sound waves used to show a picture of a fetus in
its mother’s womb during an ultrasound.
Why is an echocardiogram performed?
Doctors use an echocardiogram to diagnose and evaluate
conditions of the heart and surrounding veins and arteries.
Echocardiography can be used to determine causes for chest
pain, assess the condition of heart valves, evaluate the
effects of a heart attack or as a follow-up to evaluate the
effectiveness of treatment. An echocardiogram also can
determine if the heart or aorta has been damaged in an
accident and can help evaluate a donor heart prior to a
transplant. Young children or infants could have
echocardiography performed if there is suspected congenital
heart disease (heart abnormalities present since birth).
How is each procedure performed?
The Tran thoracic echocardiogram is a painless procedure
that involves the patient lying quietly while a small probe,
called the transducer, is gently placed on the various
positions of the chest, from which to obtain the images or
pictures of the heart in real-time. Tran esophageal echo
involves the passage of a very small tube down the food pipe
or esophagus. Because the esophagus lies in close proximity
to (behind the heart, outstanding images of the heart can be
Where does the procedure take place?
An echocardiogram is usually performed in a hospital or
doctors office. It can also be performed beside in emergency
room, an intensive care unit or in an operating room. In
some cases, such as with Tran esophageal echocardiography or
when the echo is performed in the operating room, the
cardiologist both performs the exam and interprets the
How long does an echocardiogram take?
An echo takes approximately 30-45 minutes.
Will I be exposed to radiation?
The sound waves are painless, and are not radioactive. This
test is completely non- invasive in terms of needles and
What is the difference between an echocardiogram and an
An echocardiogram shows an image of a beating heart on a
television –screen as the sonographer performs the test. An
EKG or electrocardiogram, measures the electrical currents
in the heart. These are different diagnostic techniques used
to obtain different information. The EKG tell about the
electrical health of the heart while the echocardiogram
shows the structural health of the heart and its valves.
Do health plans cover echocardiography?
Most health plans, HMO’s and Medicare cover
echocardiography for established reasons.
How can I tell if my echocardiogram is being performed by
The professionals involve in your echocardiogram should
follow specific guidelined to provide high quality service.
Check with them to see if the sonographer has passed a
certification exam to receive an RDCS or RCS designation,
the physician has passed the ASC exam for special competency
in cardiac ultrasound and the lab is accredited by the
intersocietal commission of Accreditation of
echocardiographic laboratories (ICAEL).
The conventional echocardiography usually performed is the
transthoracic echo, which is performed by placing the probe
on the outside of the chest wall with a gell-like substance
to transmit sound waves into the body.
The Doppler echocardiogram evaluates blood flow in the heart
and blood vessels this procedure measures the speed and
direction of the blood flow within the heart. It evaluates
the four valves for leaks or other abnormalities.
The stress echocardiogram combines the echo exam with a
treadmill or bike exercise test, or medication that
simulates the effect of exercise on the heart.
The contrast echocardiogram combines an echocardiogram
with an administration, through a vein, of a sterile
contrast solution, which allows visualization of the inside
of the heart. This is a harmless agent that has no known
Transesophageal echo is a form of echo where a miniature
ultrasound camera is passed down the esophagus or food pipe
behind the heart. This allows the physician to obtain very
high quality images.