Why did my doctor order an echocardiogram?
What preparations will I need to make?
How is the test administered?
How long will the procedure last?
What will the recovery be like?
What happens after the test?
Will my insurance cover this?
Who should I contact with questions about this test?
1. Why did my doctor order an echocardiogram?
Your doctor asked you to have an echocardiogram at Advocate Christ Medical Center. An echocardiogram uses ultrasound waves to examine your heart. This safe and relatively painless procedure helps the doctor diagnose a variety of heart problems: heart and chamber size, pumping strength, valve problems, fluid around the heart, blood clots or masses inside the heart and abnormal holes between heart chambers.
2. What preparations will I need to make?
This test requires no special preparation.
3. How is the test administered?
When you arrive at the medical center, you will be asked to undress from the waist up. Electrocardiogram (EKG) wires will be attached at various places on your chest. The technician will then ask you to lie on your left side, and will obtain pictures of your heart. A small microphone-like device with a cool gel is held against your chest. The device sends waves that reflect (echo) off the various parts of your heart. Using these images, a computer constructs a picture of your heart. The image is displayed on a television screen and recorded on videotape and paper.
A Doppler and color flow echo may be done in addition to the routine echo when necessary to help your diagnosis. Doppler and color flow show blood flow through the heart.
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4. How long will the procedure last?
The test takes approximately 45 minutes.
5. What will the recovery be like?
Because this test is a pain-free, non-invasive procedure, there is no real recovery period. You will be free to leave when the test is finished.
6. What happens after the test?
Once all the pictures have been developed and your doctor has been able to review them, he or she will set-up an appointment to discuss the final results with you, and if necessary, recommend any further treatment.
7. Will my insurance cover this?
Depending on the type of coverage, most commercial insurance carriers will pay the major share of the cost. You should always consult your insurance company to determine proper coverage.
8. Who should I contact with questions about this test?
Feel free to consult your doctor.
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