How to Prepare for Your Echocardiogram

Feb 02, 2023
How to Prepare for Your Echocardiogram
If you need an echocardiogram, you're likely wondering how to prepare for the procedure. Read on to discover how to plan for a successful and smooth echocardiogram appointment.

When scheduling an echocardiogram, it's for the health and wellness of your heart. Although it's simply a high-tech ultrasound of your heart, preparing for an echocardiogram can be draining and stressful.

The team at the Heart Clinic of Hammond knows how stressful thinking about your echocardiogram can be. Our two expert cardiologists, Dr. Ghiath Mikdadi and Dr. Farid Zayed, listen to your concerns to help you prepare for your echocardiogram with the least stress possible.

What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is a test our team uses to evaluate the structure and health of your heart. During an echocardiogram, the technician uses powerful sound waves in the form of ultrasound to take pictures of your heart.

We use several different types of echocardiograms for diagnosing heart problems or evaluating the effectiveness of treatment. A few of the forms of echocardiograms include the following:

Our team uses different forms of an echocardiogram for various conditions. We evaluate your condition to determine which type of echocardiogram is best for you.

But why might you need an echocardiogram? The main reason we use an echocardiogram is to evaluate how your heart works by looking at its structure. Our team utilizes an echocardiogram to:

  • Evaluate your pericardium
  • Look at the strength of your heart
  • Check your heart valves
  • Check for blood leaking backward
  • Evaluate movement during your heartbeat
  • Evaluate for any abnormalities in your heart

An echocardiogram is a noninvasive diagnostic tool we use regularly. It doesn’t require anesthesia, and no incisions are needed for our team to perform the test.

Preparing for your echocardiogram

How you prepare for your echocardiogram depends on the test you're having. Each type of echocardiogram is different and requires different instructions for preparation.

If you have a transthoracic echocardiogram, there's nothing you need to do to prepare for the test. Wear comfortable clothing and show up at the facility on time.

When you require a stress echocardiogram, you want to ensure you wear very comfortable clothes. Part of the test requires you to exercise, so choose comfortable shoes for walking or running.

The transesophageal echocardiogram is the one you need to prepare for most. If you're having this test done, you shouldn’t eat anything for eight hours before the exam. Abstaining from food helps prevent vomiting while we are performing the test.

You also need a driver if you have a transesophageal echocardiogram, as you receive some sedatives to make you comfortable. Be sure you have someone to drive you home, or 

we may cancel the test.

With any echocardiogram, you should avoid smoking or using nicotine products before the test. You may also want to avoid caffeine and coffee before your echocardiogram, as it could skew the results.

What to expect after the test

After your test, you'll be able to get dressed and go home. It might take a few days for our team to review the results.

After a transthoracic, 3D, or stress echocardiogram, you can go home and resume your normal activities unless instructed otherwise. Our team will call you with your results as soon as we receive them.

If you had a transesophageal echocardiogram, you should go home and rest. Our team provides specific instructions for the first 24 hours after your test. If you have any issues during that time, don't hesitate to call the office.

Once your results come in, our team creates a customized treatment plan to ensure your heart is healthy. We discuss your options and give you the best options for a healthy heart muscle.

To schedule your echocardiogram, call Heart Clinic of Hammond today at 985-974-9278. You may also request an appointment online for a consultation at our Hammond or Amite, Louisiana offices.