Preparing for Echocardiography

An echocardiogram uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create a moving picture of your heart as it works. Depending the type of test you have, your doctor can learn about the size, shape and movement of your heart muscle. An echocardiogram also shows how the heart valves are working and how blood flows through your heart, giving your doctor valuable information about your arteries.

If you are having an echocardiogram:

  • Do not eat or drink anything for three to four hours before the test
  • Wear comfortable clothing, as you will be laying on a table or bed

Your cardiologist may have other instructions for you depending on the type of echocardiogram you are going to have.

If you are having transesophageal echocardiography:

  • Don't eat or drink anything for at least six hours before the test.
  • Wear comfortable clothes. You will be asked to undress and wear a hospital gown.
  • Be sure your doctor is aware of all drugs that you are taking before you come in for the test. He or she may ask that you not take some drugs prior to this test.
  • If you wear dentures or other oral prostheses, you'll need to remove them as they may interfere with the test
  • If you are not staying in the hospital after this test is done, you must have someone drive you home. You are not allowed to drive for 24 hours after being sedated.
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