What is an echo?

An echo is a scan that uses ultrasound (sound waves) to produce pictures of the heart to show how well your heart pumps and whether your heart valves are working properly.

How is an echo done?

You will be invited into a private consultation room. The person performing the test is called a cardiac physiologist. You will be asked to undress to the waist and put on a gown that should be left open to the front. You will be asked to lie on a couch on your left-hand side.

Stickers will be attached to your chest and connected to the machine. These will be used to monitor your heart rate during the test. An ultrasound probe covered by a small amount of gel is placed gently on the centre of your chest and will be moved to different positions.

During the echo the light will be dimmed, and you will hear sounds coming from the machine. What you are hearing is the blood flow through the heart. The echo can take up to 45 minutes to complete.

Before your echo

Please continue to take any medication as normal. If you require a male or female cardiac physiologist please contact us before your appointment, and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

After your echo

Once the echo is complete you can get dressed. Occasionally we may organise for you to be seen by a doctor following your scan, otherwise you are free to leave.

Your result will be sent to your referring doctor in time for your next appointment with them.

Risks and side-effects

The stickers used during the test can cause a skin reaction. If you have an allergy to skin adhesive or plasters, please let us know. Do you have any further questions?