What is an Echocardiogram?

An Echocardiogram (“echo”) is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. These sound waves are then converted into images which the Doctor or Sonographer can see, on a console right next to you. These images are recorded, analysed, and reported.

In the Cardiology context, this means you will be having an ultrasound of your heart.

You will not be able to hear or feel the sound waves bouncing off the different parts of your heart, nor is the procedure risky in any way.

Why do I need an Echocardiogram?

Your Doctor has requested that you have this test done to provide more information about the structure and function of your heart.

Will I feel anything during the Echocardiogram?

The Cardiologist or Cardiac Sonographer will apply ultrasound gel to your chest area, this may feel cool. The ultrasound probe will be pressed firmly to your ribs, but it should not be painful.

An echocardiogram is a non-invasive procedure.

How long will the Echocardiogram take?

It will take 5 – 10 minutes.

How do I prepare for the Echocardiogram?

It is helpful if you wear clothing (on your top half) that you can remove easily. Female patients will be given a gown to wear during their Echocardiogram. You will also be offered a blanket, if you feel cold.

Can I have a support person with me during my Echocardiogram?


What happens if I get angina/chest pains during my Echocardiogram?

If this happens, it is important to let the Cardiologist or Sonographer know immediately.

How long before I get the results of the Echocardiogram?

The Cardiologist will discuss the results of the Echocardiogram during your appointment.

What if the Echocardiogram is positive (if there is something wrong with my heart?)

The Cardiologist will discuss this with you, as well as your treatment options and “where do we go from here?” A report of the results will be sent to your GP.

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Ascot Hospital, Level 3
90 Greenlane East
Remuera, Auckland 1051
PO Box 17264,
Greenlane, Auckland 1546

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