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What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram or echo is an ultrasound scan of the heart. From the images obtained, an assessment of the structure and function of the heart can be made.

Why might I need an echocardiogram?

There are many reasons why you might need this test, here are a common few:

  • You may be breathless or have a build-up of fluid
  • To help assess the pumping function of your heart
  • To help assess the cause of a murmur
  • To help assess the valves in your heart
  • You may have an irregular heart rhythm
  • To help assess the size of the chambers and muscle thickness in your heart.
  • You may have a family history of cardiac conditions
  • As part of a medical certification
  • For athletes as part of a full cardiac assessment

What do I need to bring?

Just yourself, you do not need to bring anything in particular. You may bring a friend, relative or chaperone if you wish. If you take any medication, please take as prescribed, no special requirements are needed. You may eat and drink as normal.

What will happen?

You will be met by the echocardiographer performing the echo on you (maybe male or a female). You will be given a brief explanation of the test and asked to undress to the waist (in privacy). A special disposable gown will be given to you to keep your modesty. You will be asked to lie on your left side on a couch and 3 ECG electrode stickers will be placed on your upper body. The echo cardiographer will then use a small transducer device that will be covered in gel against your chest. This is a totally painless test and there are no needles or injections to worry about. The echo scan should take approximately 20mins.

If you have any additional needs or preferences, please contacts us and we will happily try to accommodate your wishes. Your attendance at your appointment will be accepted as your consent for us to carry out this test.

During the scan you may be asked to move slightly or take a breath in or out, this may help the echocardiographer obtain clearer images of your heart. At the end of the echo you will be free to leave once dressed. The echocardiographer will not be able to discuss the results of the echo with you as the results are not instantaneous. A report will be sent back to your doctor within a few hours of the echo, the results can then be discussed with your doctor at your next appointment.

More information regarding an echocardiogram can be found by following this link to the British Heart Foundation website where you can also watch a video explaining the procedure.

NHS VIDEOS | Your guide to an echocardiogram (echo) – Health videos – NHS Choices


For all self-referring, fee-paying private clients prices start from £125. Click here to find out more.