Conditions & Diseases
Heart Health Q&A
How the
Heart Works
Stress Management
Tests & Treatments
Tips from
Real People
Don't Miss Our Editors Picks!
Meet the Experts
Take a Quiz
Heart  Healthy Living
Our final issue goes on sale May 16, 2010
Bookmark and Share
heart disease overview > Tests & Treatments >

What to Expect from an Echocardiogram

1 of 8

An echocardiogram is the most common imaging test for heart disease. Heart-Healthy Living® guides you through the test so you know what to expect if a doctor asks you or a loved one to have an echo performed.

By Sara Broek
Photos by Blaine Moats

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of your heart, much like the ultrasounds women have when they take the first look at their unborn baby. “If a person has underlying heart disease, or they’ve had a heart attack, you can tell what the overall damage is from the echo by how the heart is squeezing,” says cardiologist James Lovell, D.O., FACC, of the Iowa Clinic in Des Moines.
Preparations: You shouldn’t have to do anything such as fast or stop medication before this test. The echocardiogram commonly lasts 25–30 minutes, but allotting 45 minutes to an hour for this procedure is recommended.

When you arrive for your echocardiogram, you will be introduced to the sonographer, or physician, who will be performing your exam. You will be asked to disrobe from the waist up, and a gown will be provided for female patients.

Tip: Remove loose change, cell phones, keys, or wallets from your pockets before the exam. These items can cause discomfort, as you must lie down for the exam.

Pay $0 For Your Second Year
All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.
Pay $0 for your second year!

Sponsored Links

Better Homes & Gardens