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Heart Ultrasound Scans – What to Expect

Do you have a question about having a heart ultrasound? Here at OneWelbeck Heart Health we can provide answers and advice on what happens during a typical ultrasound scan.

Heart Ultrasound Scans – What to Expect

When we want to understand what is going on inside the heart, imaging tests are essential. One of the most common tests carried is a heart ultrasound; known more commonly as an echocardiogram. When someone has an echocardiogram carried out, it helps doctors analyse how the heart is working and that everything is performing as expected.

You might feel slightly nervous about having a heart ultrasound scan carried out for the first time if you don’t know what to expect. Let’s discuss the test, what happens during the examination, and what information a doctor expects to get from a heart ultrasound.

What is a heart ultrasound (echocardiogram)?

Echocardiograms are ultrasound tests which scan the heart and provide accurate information about the heart’s structure and function. The test is attempting to understand how the heart is working while resting.

echocardiogram

How is a heart ultrasound done?

A probe is used to send sound waves from your chest to the heart and back. It is entirely harmless, and patients won’t feel a thing when the probe is moved around the chest.

It is common for the doctor to move the probe around slightly while checking the heart as it helps build a complete picture of how different parts of the heart work. The pictures received come as an “echo”, hence the term.

What does a patient do during a heart ultrasound?

In most instances, a patient will be asked to remove clothes from the upper body and then lie on their left side.

Would you be expected to exercise during an echocardiogram?

Sometimes doctors will want to understand how the heart works with stress. To do this they might ask the patient to run on the treadmill or to cycle on a static bike. You can find more information on that procedure here.

How long does it take to have a heart ultrasound?

A patient would expect their appointment to last for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how easy it is for doctors to get the images they need.

What does someone experience during a heart ultrasound?

The majority of patients won’t feel or notice anything while the ultrasound takes place. You will hear the sound of the flow of blood through the heart at times during the test when Doppler is used.

Do you need to take any specific medicine to have an echocardiogram carried out?

Usually, this test doesn’t need the patient to take any medicine. If the patient needs to have a bubble contrast echocardiogram, a saline injection will be needed.

Talk to echocardiogram specialists

If you have any questions about any of the tests carried out, or would like to speak with someone about visiting OneWelbeck for a test, please visit our contact page.