An echocardiogram is an ultrasound scan that can give your doctor a clear picture of your heart. Along with the ECG, it is one of the commonest cardiac tests we perform.
When you have an echocardiogram test at the Cardiac Screen clinic in London, you will be asked to undress to the waist and lie down. A small amount of lubricating jelly, which may feel a bit cold, will be applied to your chest to help us get a clear picture. You will then feel the probe moving across your skin as we examine your heart from different angles, and you might be asked to turn onto your side for a different perspective. The whole procedure should take no more than half an hour.
Although you won't be able to feel anything during the echocardiogram test, the probe will be sending out ultrasound waves and creating an image of your heart from the echoes that bounce back. A constantly updated image will be displayed on the monitor, allowing your doctor to examine the structure and function of your heart.
Your doctor will be looking for any abnormalities in the size or shape of your heart and assessing how well it is pumping. Together with information gathered from ECGs and other tests, the echocardiogram could help your cardiologist diagnose problems such as a heart valve disorder or coronary artery disease. An ecg test could also be used to check for fluid around your heart or to monitor your recovery after a heart attack.