Royal Sussex County Hospital. Princes Royal Hospital. Hove Polyclinic. Sussex Universities

The Echocardiogram See also: Stress Echocardiogram. Bubble Echocardiogram

What is an echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram is an exremely useful non-invasive diagnostic procedure that uses ultrasound waves that are inaudible to the human ear to image the structures of the heart.


How is the echocardiogram performed?
You will be asked by your physiologist to take your top clothes off (gowns will be provided on request) and lye on your left side in a sitting position on an examination table . Three small patches (electrodes) will be attached to various parts of your chest and arms, these help to record the electrocardiogram (ECG) during the echocardiography test.
The physiologist will then place a small transducer on your chest with a little amount of gel. Recordings and photos are taken from different parts of the chest to obtain several views of the heart. You may be asked to move onto your back and to the side. You may also be instructed to breathe slowly or to hold your breath. This helps in obtaining higher quality pictures. The images are constantly viewed on the monitor. During the examination the physiologist will record the blood flowing through the chambers and valves of your heart which produces a 'whooshing' sound that you will be able to hear. The test takes approximately 20 minutes, once the test is finished you will be able to leave hospital.

   aortic m-mode    stenosis

Video Clips

Video One
Aortic Regurgitation
Windows / Quicktime / Mobile
Video Video Two
Mitral Stenosis
Windows / Quicktime / Mobile

Video Three
Aortic Stenosis
Windows / Quicktime / Mobile
Video Video Four
Apical 4 Chamber view.
Windows / Quicktime / Mobile

How safe is echocardiography?
Echocardiography is extremely safe. There are no known risks from the clinical use of ultrasound during this type of testing.

When can I expect to receive the results?
Your consultant is not routinely present during the test and you may have to wait until your out-patient appointment to receive the results. If you do not have an out-patient appointment your consultant will write to your GP.