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Five Things You Should Know Before Your First Echocardiogram

Five Things Should Know Before First EchocardiogramAt Brookhaven Heart, we know that going in for a new medical procedure can be stressful for anyone. However, patients who are scheduled for an echocardiogram can gain some peace of mind by reading the following.

1. The Device Is Safe

Although the word echocardiogram may sound intense, it is just a fancy way of saying, “ultrasound of the heart.” The same machine that shows expectant moms and dads the gender of their babies is used to tell doctors a great deal about the structure and function of your heart. Since the device uses only sound waves, the procedure is considered safe for almost all patients to undergo.

2. The Test Is Simple

When you take the test, the technologist may begin by asking you to disrobe from the waist up and provide you a gown to wear. Once you lie down, the technologist will apply a colorless gel to the heart area and then place a transducer over the gel in order to create a great image. Patients are often asked to move around, hold their breath, or breathe slowly to help the technologist to improve the quality of the images.

3. It Is a Short Procedure

Start to finish, an echocardiogram lasts 25 to 30 minutes. However, depending on your medical condition and waiting times, you may wish to schedule at least an hour for the entire appointment.

4. Choose wisely

Echocardiogram and other imaging modalities should be performed in a nationally accredited laboratory. Accreditation demonstrates commitment towards quality. It ensures that tests are performed and interpreted by qualified personnel, using scientifically approved protocols, in an unrushed manner. You can verify if an echocardiography laboratory is accredited at https://www.intersocietal.org/echo/.

5. A picture is worth a thousand words

We come across incomplete, poor quality echocardiograms with erroneous reports often done by “Mobile ultrasound” companies necessitating repeat testing. Therefore we encourage patients to have echocardiogram performed and interpreted by your treating cardiologist who knows your pertinent medical information and is better suited to provide you with the most accurate test report and heart care.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact our staff at Brookhaven Heart at 631-654-3278 for more information.