What is an echocardiogram?
A transthoracic echocardiogram is a non-invasive test of the heart that uses ultrasound technology to create pictures to show how your heart is working. The structures and blood flow of the heart are measured and recorded in a mixture of still and moving images. State of the art technology is used at Illawarra heart centre to provide the best results for our patients, and this may include the use of 4D echocardiography.
What does this test look for?
An echocardiogram can provide the cardiologist with a great deal of information about your heart. This test will show:
How long will the test take?
This test takes approximately 45 minutes and does not require any special preparation. Eat and drink as normal, and take your medications as normal unless instructed otherwise.
How do I book in for an echocardiogram?
Simply phone our office and book the appointment. We have two fully qualified cardiac sonographers on staff (see our team section). Please notify reception staff when booking if you require a sonographer of a particular gender.
What do I need to bring?
You will need to bring your Medicare card, pension or health care card (if applicable) and referral. It is also helpful to have a copy of your last echocardiogram result if it was not performed at Illawarra Heart Centre. Reception staff will inform you of any fees associated with the test and the Medicare rebate. Please note, not all echocardiograms will attract a Medicare rebate.
What actually happens during an Echocardiogram?
Once you arrive and are checked in by reception staff, our cardiac sonographer will take you to the ultrasound room where you will be given a gown and asked to change. You will need to undress from the waist up for this test. Your height and weight will be recorded so that your heart measurements can be indexed to your body surface area, and your patient details will be entered into our ultrasound machine.
You will be asked to lie down on your left-hand side with your left hand up by your head and your right arm down by your side. 3 ECG dots applied to your chest, so that the sonographer can view the electrical activity of your heart throughout the test. The sonographer will apply ultrasound gel to different areas of your chest and use an ultrasound probe to take pictures and recordings of the heart. You may be asked to hold your breath at times. You may feel some cool gel and some pressure from the ultrasound wand, but this is a generally painless, non-invasive procedure.
What happens with my results?
All reports are reviewed and finalised by a Cardiologist and will be returned to your referring practitioner within days of your exam. Any abnormal findings will be reported back to your doctor and further recommendations for follow up and treatment will be advised. Patients requiring a follow up appointment at the clinic will be triaged according to the results.