What is a contrast echocardiogram?
A contrast echocardiogram is an ultrasound recording of the heart with contrast agent (such as Sonovue® or agitated saline/salty water) injected into blood the stream. It is particularly helpful for examining the heart muscle in detail and for identifying any holes in the heart.
How do I prepare for the test?
There is no special preparation required. However, wearing clothing that gives easy access to the chest is helpful. You should come as you are and eat or drink as you normally do. If you take medications, you should continue to take them as normal unless your doctor specifies otherwise.
How much time the test will take?
The test will last 45 minutes but allow 60 minutes to complete the appointment session.
What happens during the test?
During the test, you will lie comfortably on a bed. From time to time, you may be asked to move into different positions.
An intravenous line will be placed in your arm. You will get contrast agent through this line.
Three electrodes will be attached to your chest to record an electrocardiogram at the same time.
A small probe, called the transducer, will be gently placed on various locations of the chest, to obtain the images of the heart in real-time with a clear jelly-like substance applied between the skin and the transducer. During the test, you may hear a “whooshing” sound due to the movement of blood within your heart. This should not cause any concern.
When all the necessary information is obtained, the intravenous line, electrodes and jelly will be removed.
What are the risks from the test?
Risks from contrast echocardiogram are rare. The ultrasound is harmless. The contrast agent is rapidly dispersed and allergic reactions are very uncommon and usually very mild.
What happens after the test?
You can resume your normal activities.
Our Cardiologist will interpret the recordings and will then provide your physician with a written report. We will not be able to provide you with any results at the time of the test.