Expectations: How is an Echocardiogram Performed?
There’s no special preparation required for the echo test unless you are going for a transesophageal echocardiography which will require you to stop eating at least a couple of hours before the test begins.Upon arrival at an urgent care clinic or diagnostic center, you’ll be taken in for the echo test. The sonographer will ask you to lie down on the examination table. Once you are on the table, the technician will put small disks (that connect to the echocardiography machine) on your chest. Now, a thick gel will be applied to your chest. The gel will cause a cold sensation on your skin. There’s nothing to worry about because the gel is not harmful to the skin at all.Next, the sonographer will place the transducer on your chest. Putting gentle pressure on the transducer, sound waves will be sent to the heart. The sound waves, as they return from the heart, will be captured via the transducer and transferred to a computer which will convert the waves into images.As the sonographer moves the transducer on your chest, they may ask you to either exhale or inhale or halt your breath for a brief moment. You’ll also be asked to remain calm and still for the procedure to complete.After a transthoracic echocardiography test is over, you can get back to your normal life without any delay and resume your day’s work. But if the echo test is transesophageal, you’ll be asked to rest for a few hours because you’ll be under the influence of sedatives. You should start work or drive only after the effect of sedatives has gone away completely. After your echocardiogram results are in and it is found that you have a heart condition, your doctor would change your medications or may refer you to another subspecialist who specializes in the management of your specific heart disease.