How to Prepare for an Echocardiogram ( Ultrasound of the Heart)

 

How to Prepare for an Echocardiogram

By: Lesley Bolden BS, RDCS (AE, PE) RCS

       With pediatric patients the most valuable thing to remember about an echocardiogram is that there are no shots or needles involved-as I often say "No Ouchies".  The process is simple and painless and is typically over within 30 minutes. The patient lies on the bed or in the arms of a parent or guardian as the technologist applies some gel to their chest and glides a probe around capturing the necessary images and data.  Age appropriate movies are provided during the examination and parents/guardians are welcome to bring a DVD as well as snacks and toys of their own for use during their visit.  As soon as the procedure is finished the patient's chest will be wiped clean and their shirt is put on for the remainder of their visit.   The cardiologist immediately explains all testing results, including the echocardiogram with the patient and family/guardian and lets them know if we need to see them for a follow-up visit.

 

What Do Those Blue and Red Colors Mean?

By: Lesley Bolden BS, RDCS (AE, PE) RCS

      An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart incorporating a variety of imaging modalities to capture both qualitative as well as quantitative data.

      Doppler Color Flow is the most common method of qualitative assessment, secondary to 2-D and assesses blood flow entering and exiting the heart, as well as within all chambers, arteries, pulmonary veins, and in and out of all valves. Sometimes people assume the blue and red colors are specific to the oxygen content of the blood at a given location.  While this assumption seems logical, the oxygen saturation level of the blood within the heart cannot be determined via ultrasound.   Doppler Color Flow  represents the velocity of the blood flow (speed and direction) during all phases of the cardiac cycle and is an extremely effective tool for linking pathology with physiology.