What is an Echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound test of the heart. A sonographer will attach three electrodes to your chest. The technologist may ask you to lie on your left side. A transducer that sends and receives harmless ultrasound waves will be firmly placed on your chest along with ultrasound gel. Images of your heart are obtained along with audible sounds of the blood flow through the valves of your heart. The only discomfort involved is some pressing of the transducer and removal of the EKG patches. The images are given to the cardiologist after the test is completed for interpretation and the results will be sent to the ordering physician.
How to Prepare for your Echocardiogram
There is no preparation necessary for an echocardiogram. Because you will be asked to undress from the waist up, you may want to wear a two-piece outfit or loose fitting clothing. You will be given a gown to wear.
What is a TEE or TransEsophageal Echocardiogram?
A TEE is a type of echocardiogram where an ultrasound transducer, positioned on an endoscope, is guided down the patient’s throat into the esophagus. An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible instrument that is about ½ inch in diameter. The TEE test provides a closer look at the heart’s valves and chambers. It is often used when the results of a standard echocardiogram are not sufficient or the physician wants a closer look at your heart.
How to prepare for your TEE or TransEsophageal Echocardiogram
- Do NOT eat or drink anything for at least six hours before your test. If you must take medicine before the test, take it only with a small sip of water. Take your medication as directed by your doctor on the day of the test. If you have diabetes, contact your doctor for specific instructions.
- Someone should come with you the day of the test to drive you home. You can not drive yourself home after the test. The sedation given may make cause drowsiness and can impair your judgment.
- You can wear whatever clothing you like, but will need to change into a hospital gown for the test.
- You will be asked to remove your dentures.
Getting your results
In most cases, your exam will be interpreted and the results shared with your physician.