An echocardiogram, also known as an echo, is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to build up a detailed picture of your heart. It is similar to an ultrasound scan using the same ultrasound waves found in scans during pregnancy. All our private echocardiogram scans are performed by highly specialised advanced cardiac physiologists and will take between 15 – 45 minutes.
The echo report is produced by the physiologists and allows your doctor to evaluate and monitor your
Why do I need an Echocardiogram?
A private echocardiogram is a thorough and safe way to evaluate and assess your heart. You may require an echo for any (but not inclusive) of the following reasons:
If you are breathless, have a sustained elevated heart rate or experience a certain symptom at rest or during exercise, such as chest pain
There is a history of coronary heart disease, a heart problem or heart failure in your family, or a close relative has experienced a heart attack
To look for the cause of a heart murmur or unusual heart rhythm
To check the size of the heart chambers
To check for fluid around the heart
To check that the heart muscle is the right thickness and is pumping correctly
You are experiencing cardiac-sounding symptoms post Covid
You have Hypertension (high blood pressure) – This can cause the wall muscles to become thickened and eventually will cause heart enlargement
You may also have self-referred yourself for an echo, this could be for any of the above reasons, or you may just want reassurance that your heart is healthy as part of your own health screening and well-being
Our guides are also available in different languages and larger print. If you require a different version please do contact us so we may send you exactly what you need.
Before your appointment
No special preparations are needed for your private echocardiogram. You may eat and drink as normal throughout the day and continue to take your usual medications. It may be helpful to bring a list of all your current medications with you as the cardiac physiologist performing your test may need to know what you are taking (Such as blood pressure medication). Please bring with you your height and weight, this will help the physiologist assess your heart more accurately.
If you need additional support for any reason or because you speak a different language and will require an interpreter please let us know when you book your appointment. If you would like support from a friend, relative, or carer we are more than happy for them to attend the appointment with you
If patients need us to provide a chaperone or require a physiologist of a particular gender, please call us and we will arrange a suitable appointment.
For any questions or advice you can contact us using this form
What to expect on the day
You will be called into the clinic room by your Physiologists, who will confirm your details and will explain the test. You will need to remove all clothing from your top half for the test, your privacy will be maintained as you will be behind a screen in a clinic room. You will be offered a disposable sheet or gown for extra privacy if you would like this.
You’ll be asked to lie on a couch or bed. Three ECG electrodes (small, flat, sticky patches) will be placed onto your chest or back, this is to allow the physiologist to see what rhythm your heart is in and for the machine to record at appropriate times of the cardiac cycle. You will be asked to turn onto your left-hand side, this improves your images. If you are unable to turn onto your side, please inform the physiologists and they will do everything they can to obtain your images while you are on your back. You will not need to lie flat during any part of the procedure.
A gel is used on the end of the probe, to help the sound wave reach your heart and to allow the probe to be moved freely across your chest. It feels cold and sticky but is otherwise harmless.
The physiologist doing the procedure will move the probe in different areas of your chest around your heart. The probe gives off pulses of high-frequency sound waves which are inaudible to the human ear, these pass through your skin to your heart. The ultrasound waves ‘echo’ against the structures of your heart and the probe picks up these reflections and shows them as moving images on a screen. Different parts of the heart are seen as the probe is moved around on your chest.
The test is intimate as the physiologist will be close to you and have their arm around you.
Once all the images have been recorded, the ECG electrodes will be removed, and you will be given some tissue to wipe the ultrasound gel off. At this point, you will be able to dress.
The physiologist will then explain how the results will be sent. Obtaining the images is the first part of the test, more detailed analysis, and measurements still need to be taken, however, this will be done once you have left the clinic, therefore it is not possible to fully discuss the results with you immediately after the scan has finished.
Once you have left the clinic you are free to enjoy your day.
How will I get my results?
After your private echocardiogram appointment the data will be analysed by our consultant cardiologist. It can take up to 24 hours to review and report on the data received. The results will be emailed to your referring clinician. If you have self-referred for this test, both yourself and GP will receive a copy.
We aim to have your results to you within 3 working days.
On very rare occasions due to unforeseen circumstances, it may be necessary to cancel your appointment at short notice due to matters outside our control. We want to reassure you that a member of the team will be in contact with you at the earliest opportunity should we need to cancel your appointment to inform you and rebook.