An echocardiogram is a safe, non-invasive procedure used to examine your heart and potentially diagnose problems. It uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to see all four chambers of the heart, the heart valves, the great blood vessels entering and leaving the heart, as well as the sac around the heart. There are many reasons that your physician may request an echocardiography examination. Physicians use echocardiography to look for the cause of an abnormal heart sound (a murmur), to check the size of the heart chambers, to check for fluid around the heart, or to inspect the pumping capability of the heart if a patient is short of breath or has complained of certain symptoms during exertion.
How is the test done?
Echocardiograms are routinely performed in the Heart Clinic of Louisiana Echocardiography department. During the test you will be asked to lie on your back on an examination table, roll to your side, and hold your breath briefly. The technician will attach electrodes to your chest to obtain your heart beat. Then the technician places a hand-held transducer against your chest and slowly slides it from side to side. Ultrasound gel is used on the transducer to help it slide better across the chest. The test will take approximately 30-60 minutes.
How do I prepare for the test?
There is no special preparation required for the test. A normal diet may be consumed and all medications should be taken as prescribed.
Heart Clinic of Louisiana Echocardiography Laboratory is a nationally accredited lab. Accreditation is provided by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL). Accreditation is earned by establishing high standards of quality patient care, careful evaluation of laboratory procedures, and review by an outside board for compliance with nationally accredited standards. Accreditation is re-evaluated every three years for continued compliance.