Echocardiography is a test that uses ultrasound to make a picture of your heart. Ultrasound uses sound waves, or echoes, to make the picture. This test is used to determine if you have enough blood flowing to your heart and how well your heart is pumping.
Pictures of your heart will be taken before and after you exercise.
The purposes of this test are to:
- Diagnose if you have coronary artery disease or are at risk of getting coronary artery disease
- Determine how likely it is that your condition will get worse
- Determine if you have any other conditions related to your heart and blood flow
Resources for Patients & Their Families
How to Prepare for Your Test
- Do not eat or drink for three hours before the test
- Do not drink or consume anything with caffeine in it (such as coffee) 24 hours before the test
- Specific heart medicines (such as beta blockers) may need to be stopped 24-48 hours before the test. Check with your doctor about specific instructions regarding medications before the test. Do not stop taking medications without consulting your doctor
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that are suitable for exercising on a treadmill or bike
What to Expect During the Test
- During the test you will exercise by walking or running on a treadmill
- If you are not able to exercise, a drug called Persantine will be used to open up your veins and arteries allowing the doctor to examine the flow of blood to your heart as if you were exercising.
- The test will take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours