This is a non-invasive test that can be done in the office. Special ultrasound machines are used to help image the heart using sound waves emitted by a hand-held transducer. During the test, the technician will measure vessel diameters, force of blood flow through the heart, and examine various structures such as blood vessels, chambers, and valves. A written report and image capture is provided to your cardiologist for review and analysis.
On occasion, a contrast material must be used to enhance visualization. This medication is injected into the hand or arm via an intravenous portal right before images are taken.
An echo test may be a resting image or it may also require you to walk on a treadmill for a period of time (stress echo). Images are then captured pre- and post-exercise so your cardiologist can see how hard your heart has to work under the stress of exercise.
This test may require 45-90 minutes in the office.