An echocardiogram is a non-invasive imagining test. It helps your doctor evaluate your heart. This test is both safe and harmless. Pictures are obtained by bounding sound waves (ultrasound) off the heart. A transducer (device that looks like a microphone) is used.

Before the Procedure

Please allow extra time for checking in. Wear a two-piece outfit for the test. You will be asked to remove clothing from the waist up. You will be given a hospital gown to cover your chest.

During the Test

Most echocardiograms take 45 minutes. Electrodes will be placed on your chest to monitor your heartbeat. The technician will use a wet gel applied to the transducer, which will be moved firmly over your chest. Because air in the lungs can affect the images, you might be asked to alter your breathing pattern. The echocardiogram will also include a Doppler study test, which will evaluate the blood flow through the heart. During this part of the test you will hear a "whooshing" sound, representing your blood flow. The pictures are stored electronically for later viewing.

Test Results

Your doctor will discuss your test results with you during a future office visit.

To improve health care quality, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) strongly supports laboratory accreditation for its independent evaluation and validation of performance of providers and facilities. Patients can rely on accreditation as an indication that the facility where their examination will be performed has proven a commitment to providing quality testing for the diagnosis of heart disorders and disease. Patients can rest assured that accredited facilities have been carefully critiqued on all aspects of operations relevant in the field of echocardiography.