The purpose of the Doppler ultrasound is to determine the size of your heart, to evaluate how well your heart is functioning or pumping and to assess the structure and function of the valves within the heart. A 2-D (or two-dimensional) echocardiogram 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. A Doppler ultrasound echocardiogram measures the speed and direction of the blood flow within the heart. It screens the four valves for leaks and other abnormalities. By assigning color to the direction of blood flow, (Color Flow Mapping), large areas of blood flow may be studied. These color flow mappings allow abnormal blood flow characteristics to be interpreted by the cardiologist.
Following are some frequently asked questions about the test and how to prepare for it. Click on the question for the answer, which will appear below the questions.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE DOPPLER ULTRASOUND TEST?
The test will take about 45 minutes. You will be asked to remove your shirt or blouse and put on a gown or a sheet to keep you comfortable and maintain privacy. After lying on an examination table, the technician will apply a colorless gel to your chest. The transducer will be moved back and forth across your chest to obtain several views of your 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. With Doppler echocardiograms, as the transducer moves over your heart, you will hear a “whooshing” sound, much like that of a washing machine. This sound relates to the movement of blood within your heart chambers.
The images are constantly viewed on the monitor and recorded for a permanent record of the examination. This is reviewed by the physician prior to completion of the final report.
PREPARATION FOR THE TEST
Other than wearing loose-fitting clothing, there are no special restrictions or preparation prior to a 2D Doppler ultrasound echocardiogram. Although the gel is water soluble and should not stain; it is messy and could get on your clothing so please be aware and dress appropriately.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME FOR THE TEST?
Referral for Echo
WHO WILL GIVE ME THE TEST RESULTS?
After a review of the test, your medical history, other imaging modalities and previous tests by an Advanced Cardiology Centre cardiologist, a report will be sent to the ordering physician. The ordering physician will review the results and discuss them with you.