What is an Echocardiogram or Echo?
An echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to produce live images of the heart. It allows the doctor to monitor how the heart and its valves are functioning.
The echocardiogram, or “echo” can help detect blood clots, fluid in the sac around the heart, and problems with the aorta (the main artery connected to the heart).
It is a key test in determining the health of heart muscle, namely after a heart attack. The ultrasound does not use any radiation.
What to Expect
- There is no preparation before the test; however, you will be asked to undress from the waist up, so you may be asked to put on a gown.
- There will be three electrodes placed on your chest.
- You will be asked to lie on your left side while the technologist uses the transducer to take pictures of your heart.
- A water based gel is used on the skin.
- Ultrasound usually does not hurt, the only discomfort may be some pressure of the transducer on the chest wall and the removal of the EKG patches.
- The exam takes about 30 minutes.
The images are compiled in the computer and are sent to the cardiologist.
The cardiologist, who is a specialist in interpreting the echo, will report your results to your health care provider.
Your health care provider will receive the result into your medical record and notify you of the result.
If you and your health care provider feel that an echocardiogram would provide important information for your continued care, the provider will order the test either through the electronic medical record or with a paper order.
The Central Scheduling Department staff will call you to schedule your Echocardiogram or you can call them at (309) 734-1446 if your health care provider instructs you to do so.
The echo technologist performs the exams Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Please call the Diagnostic Imaging Department at (309) 734-1407 if you have any questions.