An echocardiogram, or “echo” as it is often called, is a test that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create pictures, videos and tracings of your heart. The test is also referred to as “echocardiography” or “diagnostic cardiac ultrasound.”
An echo may consist of any combination of the following:
Your doctor may order an echo test to look at your heart’s structure and to check how well your heart is functioning. The test findings are generated into a report, informing your doctor of the following:
The test also will help your doctor evaluate:
You don’t have to do anything special. You can eat and drink before the test as you usually would. Take your medications as you normally would unless otherwise directed by your physician.
Echo tests are performed by specially trained and credentialed cardiac sonographers. Appointments are scheduled for 1-hour in length, however, they often take less than this. The time that your actual appointment takes will vary depending on how well your heart can be visualized and the reason for the exam.
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