Our heart is quite literally the reason we are alive — if something goes wrong, it might take a toll on our overall health. So, when symptoms indicating an abnormality in the heart show up, your heart specialist might recommend an echocardiogram. But how long does an echocardiography even take? We will mention all that you need to know regarding the echocardiogram time span in this blog.
What is an Echocardiogram?
Before we proceed, let us discuss what an echocardiogram is. In simple terms, it is a painless test that helps the doctor diagnose and monitor problems in one’s heart. With the help of high-frequency ultrasound waves, the exploratory measure helps your healthcare provider receive moving pictures of your heart and the related structures. There are multiple types of echocardiography, and your doctor will suggest one they deem most suitable for your condition.
Time Required for an Echocardiogram: How Long Does it Take?
Generally, an echocardiogram takes from 20 minutes to an hour. Preparing and positioning the patient for the test takes 5 minutes while acquiring the relevant images of the heart is typically done in 15 minutes. Furthermore, if a stress echocardiogram is also needed, it may add an additional 15 to 20 minutes for the entire procedure.
What to Expect in an Echocardiogram
If you are scheduled for an echocardiogram, you might be wondering what it involves. The process starts with the patient putting on a gown in the echocardiogram room. Taking an echocardiogram requires access to multiple areas on the chest wall, and the EKG leads are placed on the patient. This way, accurate images can be acquired.
Mostly, there is an echocardiogram table specifically designed for this process, where the patient lies down on their left-hand side. Moreover, a wedge is provided to be placed behind the right side. This is a handful as it allows clear imaging, which is challenging given the position of the heart.
After preparation, the time for the actual test arrives. The technician will take images of 3 areas, including:
- The front area of the chest covers the sternum.
- The left side of the chest wall, of the area over the ribs near the armpit area.
- The area on top of the stomach is positioned just underneath the ribs.
- In some cases, images of the region under the next or other places are also taken.
Sometimes, special tests are taken, such as a stress echocardiogram which may alter the total time required during the procedure. If you’re also undergoing a stress echocardiogram test, it might add an extra 20 minutes, depending on the type of stress test your doctor recommended.
In case you were wondering, an echocardiogram might take 20 minutes to an hour or two. However, the total time taken might increase if your doctor recommends additional tests as well. With the help of this test, your heart specialist can determine the condition of your heart, proceeding with adequate treatment if required.
At Memorial Cardiology Associates, we know how important your heart health is. This is why we work with a team of highly-trained experts with the expertise required to keep your heart beating right. Book an appointment now at: