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Echocardiograms, also known as an “Echo Test” are a non-invasive and painless test that examines the heart’s health and function without the use of radiation. This test can provide your physicians with information that’s essential to understanding how your heart is performing and what conditions or diseases may be affecting it. It can also reveal that your heart is in perfect working order. MD First Primary & Urgent Care has the equipment and skilled staff necessary to perform these procedures for our patients.

What Are Echocardiograms?

These tests make use of ultrasound technology to provide the physician with images of the heart’s chambers and valves. These images help reveal the current health of your heart and any potential health issues, such as malfunctioning valves. These tests have been available for many years, and the quality of the images that they can produce continues to improve. Modern echocardiograms provide 3-dimensional images that reveal even more important information for the technician.

Why Would My Doctor Want Me To Have An Echocardiogram?

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of heart diseases including swollen legs, pain or discomfort in the chest, or shortness of breath, your physician may order this test. Other reasons an echocardiogram may be ordered include the presence of a heart murmur, suspected problems with heart valves, or damage to the heart muscle. Other diagnostic tests may accompany an echo test depending on why it’s being ordered.

How Do I Prepare For An Echocardiogram?

These tests don’t require you to do anything special to prepare for them. You are able to eat and drink normally before the test and should continue to take any medication you’ve been prescribed. These tests take a relatively short amount of time, typically no more than an hour. You will not need any additional transportation assistance or follow special protocols before arriving.

How Are Echocardiograms Performed?

The test will start with changing into a hospital gown and being lain down on a table. You will be accompanied by a sonographer, a technician specializing in ultrasound. They’ll apply a special gel to the end of an ultrasound wand before moving it around on your chest near the heart. The gel is often a little cold, but that is the extent of the discomfort you’ll experience during the test. A contrast injection may be necessary in some cases so the physician can better identify the borders of the heart.

Echocardiagram readings on a monitor

When Will I Get The Results Of My Test?

If your cardiologist is able to read the results of the test it won’t take much time at all for your doctor to report the results of your test. If a non-cardiologist ordered the test they won’t receive the results for up to 48 hours.

What Types Of Echocardiogram Are There?

The traditional echocardiogram described above is the most common one performed. However, in cases where your physician desires to more closely inspect your heart valves, they may perform a transesophageal echocardiogram. In this procedure, the ultrasound wand is inserted into the esophagus through the throat where it will be right behind the heart. Another form of echocardiogram is the exercise stress echocardiogram. This test is done with the patient on a treadmill or stationary bike to see how the heart performs under stress.

If you’ve got more questions about echocardiograms or need to schedule one at the advisement of your physician give our offices a call at 1-803-238-2300 or drop by our offices today. We’ll set you up with one of our sonographers to perform your echocardiogram and have your results in no time at all.

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