Echo Doppler Test

Purpose

Echo Doppler is a painless test that is part of a transthoracic echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound), which shows how the heart beats and pumps blood. The Doppler analyzes the direction and velocity of the blood that flows through the heart. Cardiac ultrasound is not harmful in any way. This test tells the doctor how large the heart is, how well it is contracting, and how the valves are functioning.

Description

  1. The registered sonographer who performs the examination explains the procedure and answers any questions that the patient may have.
  2. The patient is asked to remove all upper body clothing, to put on a gown with the opening to the front, and to lie down on an examining table.
  3. Three adhesive electrodes are attached to the patient’s chest for the electrocardiogram portion of the procedure.
  4. The patient is asked to lie on his or her left side.
  5. The sonographer then places some gel on a small plastic probe and positions it on the left side of the patient’s chest.
  6. In order to obtain good quality images, it is necessary to apply some pressure with the probe. If the pressure creates discomfort, the patient should tell the sonographer.
  7. The patient will hear sounds when the sonographer activates the Doppler portion of the study.
  8. Pictures of the heart are recorded from several different locations on the chest, from the abdomen looking up and from the neck area looking down at the major vessels coming from the heart.
  9. Various measurements are taken, and all of the data obtained are analyzed by a cardiologist after the test is completed. Reports are sent to all doctors involved in the patient’s care.
  10. The cardiologist may wish to do some additional scanning before the patient leaves, to look at specific areas of the heart.
  11. The video or digital file of the test is retained for future reference.

Special Instructions

There is no special preparation for this test and there are no pretest dietary restrictions. The patient should continue to take any prescribed medications before and after the test.

Additional Information

The test will take approximately one hour to complete.