Echocardiography

Echocardiography

Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images. The sound waves are transmitted into your body from a small handpiece that looks a bit like a microphone (called an Ultrasound Probe or transducer). Some of these waves are reflected and are processed by the ultrasound machine to form pictures. These pictures are shown on a TV screen and recorded.

Ultrasound has been around for about 60 years now and studies have shown that it is a safe technique with no harmful side effects. Ultrasound of the heart is known as Echocardiography or simply “Echo.”

While some ultrasounds may need some preparation, an ultrasound of the heart does not usually require any preparation. An infant may be fed before the procedure to keep him/her calm. It will be necessary to expose the chest and older children may need some assurance. All infants and children are required to be accompanied by parents or a care giver. The ultrasound room temperature is maintained so that your infant or child is comfortable.

Your child will be taken into the ultrasound room and asked to lie down on a couch. An anxious and uncooperative infant may lie on the parent or care giver’s lap during the procedure. A warmed jelly like substance is then placed on your child’s skin and onto the area of interest. The sound waves don’t travel through air so this allows transmission of the sound waves into your body. The probe produces sound waves that will form the images. Your child will be completely unaware of these sound waves and there should be no discomfort during the examination apart from a little pressure.

Older children may occasionally be asked to hold their breath for a few seconds, only if required. This may sometimes be required to obtain better images.

You, as well as your child, if old enough, will be able ask any questions directly to Dr Haque in relation to imaging.


Preparation

As this is a non-invasive, painless and safe diagnostic cardiac ultrasound, no preparation will be required. Standard scanning times may vary depending on the findings and cooperation of your child but usually takes 30-45 minutes.

Consent

As this is a non-invasive, painless and safe ultrasound imaging, you as the parent or care giver are not required to sign a written consent, however, after explaining the procedure and reading this information sheet your verbal consent will be required.

Results

You and your child will be able to see the images and Dr Haque frequently explains his findings as imaging progresses. A final report by Dr Haque will then be sent to the person who referred your child. As the images are digital (just like a digital camera) we will store them in our medical records but also give you a copy on CD, either on the day or in the post if requested.