Key Things To Know If Your Doctor Sends You For An Echocardiogram

Having your doctor send you for any sort of heart test can be a little nerve-wracking. Obviously, your heart is important. You may be a little uneasy not only about what the results of the test will be but about what the test itself with entail, too. One heart test that your doctor will often send you to receive is called an echocardiogram. Here are the basics to know about this test if it has been ordered for you.

An echocardiogram uses sound waves to produce an image of your heart

Hopefully, this information allows you to relax a little. An echocardiogram does not involve any painful injections or invasive maneuvers. It's just sound waves passing through your body and producing images based on the way they bounce off your heart tissues. You won't feel a thing while the test is being administered — other than gentle pressure of the sonic tool against the outside of your chest. An echocardiogram produces video images of your heart, which allows your doctor to see the heart's chambers, valves, aorta, and the sac around the heart.

An echocardiogram is easy to prepare for

You generally don't need to take any special medications or follow any specific dietary instructions prior to an echocardiogram. However, if you are taking certain medications for heart-related issues, your doctor may ask you to stop taking them a day or two prior to the procedure. They'll do this if they want to primarily see how your heart looks and is functioning without the medication. Do not stop taking your medications unless your doctor tells you to do so; it is not always necessary.

Echocardiograms are safe

There's no radiation used during this test. The sound waves themselves cannot do any damage. This is one of the safest, least risky tests that a doctor can send you for.

Results will be available soon

It's common for doctors to meet with patients immediately after the echocardiogram in order to review the results. If your doctor can't meet with you right away, your appointment will likely be within days. The results of this test don't take a lot of time to analyze, which can be a comfort when you're waiting to find out what's going on with your heart.

Being sent for any sort of heart-related test can be a little scary. However, echocardiograms are comfortable, not risky, and easy to undergo. 

For more information, contact a company like Alpert Zales & Castro Pediatric Cardiology.