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Echocardiogram is a test our cardiologists use to examine the heart. The procedure uses sound waves to visualize the various parts of the heart. No needles are necessary and no radiation is used during this diagnostic procedure. It is a safe and painless test which is used by our physicians in a wide variety of ways.
When our specialized cardiovascular technician performs the echocardiogram, a small microphone like device will be pressed against your chest after a jelly-like substance is applied directly on your skin. This device directs sound waves that reflect off of the heart and allows the echocardiogram equipment to produce a picture on a television screen. During part of the echocardiogram you will actually be able to see this picture while we perform the test. Some parts of the test show the information in a black and white format, and on other portions (called doppler), we can actually visualize the blood flowing through the heart in a combination of red and blue colors. During a portion of the echocardiogram you may hear a whooshing sound which reflects the blood flow to the heart. This is a normal part of the procedure and in no way a cause for concern.
No special preparation is necessary for this test. It is performed in our office and usually takes approximately 30 minutes from start to finish. After the test is performed, your cardiologist will review the findings and can let you know what the results indicate about your heart's structure and function. If you prefer, we will forward a copy of your echocardiogram report to your primary care physician. All of the physicians in our group can render a clinical interpretation of your echocardiogram.