home banner staff
Cardiac Services
Can't find it?

An echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves, or ultrasound, to produce a moving picture of the heart. These sound waves are transmitted through a wand-like device called a transducer into the body. The sound waves bounce off the heart and return to the transducer as echoes, which are then turned into moving images of the heart that can be viewed on a television monitor. This test allows the doctor to learn about the size and shape of the heart muscle and to evaluate its function, valves, and the flow of blood through the heart. It helps the doctor to diagnose any problems experienced by the patient and to prescribe the treatment that best meets the health needs of the individual. An echocardiogram is pain-free.
The procedure takes about 30 – 45 minutes.
Echo Tech - Spencer
Contrast Echocardiogram
Enhanced imaging of cardiac structures in patients with suboptimal echocardiogram image, with the use of a Definity contrast solution. The contrast echo will be carried out by a cardiologist, registered nurse and cardiac sonographer. An IV will be inserted and Definity contrast will be inserted after the transthoracic echo portion is complete.
The procedure takes about 1 hour.


Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

This closely-monitored test helps to determine how well a patient's heart is pumping and detect blocked arteries. The technician places small disks, called electrodes on the patient's chest, which are attached to wires, called leads to an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine, which shows the electrical activity of the heart.

The technician will then take an echocardiogram (an ultrasound image of the heart). During the echocardiaogram, the patient is given a medication called
dobutamine through an intravenous (IV) line to make the heart work as though the patient is exercising. Ultrasound images of the heart are recorded both before and while the patient is receiving dobutamine.

The test takes approximately 1 hour to complete followed by a recovery time of approximately 1 hour.

Aortic Valve - Echo
Persantine Stress Echocardiogram
This test is essentially the same as the Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram detailed above. The only difference is Persantine is administered instead of the dobutamine. There is no recovery period for this test.
The test takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.

Saline Bubble Study
A saltwater solution is mixed with a small amount of air to create tiny bubbles that will be injected by a cardiologist or registered nurse. The bubbles will circulate to the right side of the heart and will be monitored to see if they move to the left side through a small hole. An IV will be inserted, the saline will be injected after the transthoracic echo is complete.
The study takes approximately 1 hour to complete.
Apical4 Chamber - Echo
Stress Echocardiogram

A stress echocardiogram combines a standard exercise stress test and an echocardiogram. In this test, the technician places small disks called electrodes on the patient's chest and a blood pressure cuff around their arm. The patient exercises on the treadmill until the heart rate reaches a certain rate. The patient must then lie down very quickly. The technician then uses sound waves through a transducer (a wand-like device) to look at moving images of the heart. This test can detect the presence and/or assess the significance of blocked arteries by a comparison of the ultrasound images of the heart before and after exercise. It enables the doctor to diagnose any problems the patient may be experiencing and prescribe a treatment plan to suit the individual's needs.

The test takes approximately 1 hour to complete.

3D Mitral Valve - Echo

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is a test that uses sound waves to produce a moving image of the heart. Unlike a standard echocardiogram where the image is produced from the outside of the chest, this test produces an image from the inside. The doctor inserts a probe—a soft, tube-like device—into the patient's mouth and down the esophagus (or food pipe) until it is positioned directly behind the heart. The probe has a transducer on the end that bounces sound waves off the heart to create moving images on a television monitor. A TEE allows the doctor to obtain exceptionally clear images of the heart's structure.

A patient is normally sedated for the procedure, and the test takes approximately 20 minutes to complete, followed by a recovery period of approximately one hour.

Note: Those receiving a TEE test cannot drive for 24 hours following the procedure.
For more information concerning this test please consider downloading and printing the TEE patient information document by clicking here.

Southlake follows the Cardiac Care Network's Standards for Provision of Echocardiography.

FAQ icon
Click Here for Echocardiogram FAQ's


Click Here for Cardiac Services
Southlake Regional Health Centre
596 Davis Drive, Newmarket, Ontario   L3Y 2P9
Tel: 905-895-4521   |   TTY: 905-952-3062
Copyright © 2012 Southlake Regional Health Centre