What happens when the test is performed?
- An echocardiogram can be done in a doctor's office or a hospital.
You wear a hospital gown and lie on a table.After squirting some
clear jelly onto your chest to help the ultrasound sensor slide
around easily, a technician or doctor places the sensor (which
looks like a microphone) against your skin. A picture of your
heart appears on a video screen, and the technician or doctor
slides the sensor back and forth on your chest to see different
views of your heart. At times the volume from the machine might
be turned on, transmitting a whooshing noise; this represents
the sound of your heart beating and blood flowing. If your doctor
wants to see your heart in action as it works hard, he or she
might recommend that you have a variation on the regular echocardiogram.
One variation, called an exercise echo, will have you pedal a
stationary bike while the echocardiogram is done. Another variation,
called a stress echo, involves having medication injected to
increase your heart's blood flow before doing the echocardiogram.