Echocardiogram - Ultrasound

This procedure is performed by a highly skilled cardiac technician and usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes. The patient lies on an examination couch and an ultrasound probe is placed on the chest and two-dimensional pictures produced. This test can indicate heart chamber or valve abnormalities. A cardiologist later reports on the findings and the results are usually available within two days. Echocardiography is available in the city, Richmond, or Glen Waverley.

What is an Echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is a test in which ultrasound is used to examine the heart. In addition to providing single-dimension images, known as M-mode echo that allows accurate measurement of the heart chambers, the echocardiogram also offers more sophisticated and advanced imaging. This is known as two-dimensional (2-D) Echo and is capable of displaying a cross-sectional "slice" of the beating heart, including the chambers, valves and the major blood vessels that exit from the left and right ventricle.

When is an Echocardiogram appropriate?

As with any medical issues, this is something that you should discuss with your doctor or specialist and if they feel that this test is required or appropriate, then a referral can be issued.

How do I organise to have an Echocardiogram?

You must have a referral from your doctor or specialist before the test can be performed. Echocardiograms are available at VCS Glen Waverley, Melbourne City and Richmond. For appointments at Glen Waverley or City - phone 03 8521 3114 For appointments at Richmond - phone 03 9429 6547

Please ensure you bring your referral to your appointment.

What happens during an Echocardiogram?

Clothing from the upper body is removed and covered by a gown or sheet to keep you comfortable and maintain the privacy of females. The patient then lies on an examination table whilst the test is performed. Sticky patches or electrodes are attached to the chest and shoulders and are connected to electrodes or wires. These enable the recording of the electrocardiogram (ECG) during the echocardiography test. The ECG helps in the timing of various cardiac events (filling and emptying of chambers). A gel is then applied to the chest and the echo transducer is placed on top of it. The echo technologist then makes recordings from different parts of the chest to obtain several views of the heart. You may be asked to move from your back and to the side. Instructions may also be given for you to breathe slowly or to hold your breath. This helps in obtaining higher quality pictures. The images are constantly viewed on the monitor. It is recorded directly on to the machine and is later downloaded onto a disc. The disc offers a permanent record of the examination and is reviewed by the VCS Cardiologist prior to completion of the final report.

Preparing for the Echo Test:

For a resting echocardiogram no special preparation is necessary.

How long does the entire test take?

You should allow 45min for the entire test, including the preparation and echo imaging.

How safe is an Echo test?

There are no known adverse effects from the ultrasound used during Echo imaging.

How long does the written report take?

Your doctor will generally receive the report within 3-4 working days after the test is performed, however in urgent cases a report can be given directly to your doctor over the phone or a written report can be available within 24hrs.

How much will it cost?

Please ask the secretary at the time of making the appointment. VCS does not bulk bill, however we do offer a discounted rate for pensioners and healthcare cardholders with valid cards.