How is an echo performed?

An echo is a non-invasive diagnostic scan; no equipment is inserted inside the body, and no treatment is delivered. Instead, a hand-held ultrasound probe is coated with gel and passed across the surface of the chest; painless ultrasound waves are then used to create moving images of the heart.

To ensure accurate measurements during the scan, we will first measure your height and weight. To obtain high quality images, we will need to scan the heart from several different angles, including from underneath the left breast. As such, you will be asked to undress from the waist up (women will need to remove their bra) and change into a gown before the scan begins. Small electrode stickers are also attached to your chest to record the heart’s rhythm during the test.

For the majority of the scan itself, you will be asked to lie on your left-hand side with your left arm behind your head. If this is not possible, the test can be performed with you lying flat on your back. To improve image quality, our sonographers may also ask you to hold your breath for short periods during the scan.


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