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Echocardiogram- 2D Echo Ultrasound (Cardiac, Heart)

Ultrasound is a safe and widely used imaging technique. Ultrasound produces detailed pictures of the body in real time using high frequency sound waves, which are produced by a special ultrasound probe, called a transducer.  The probe sends sound waves into the body and then "listens" for echoes reflected back from body structures. The frequency of these sound waves is higher than that detected by the human ear and when they are reflected by a part of the body they are detected by the probe. An ultrasound image is produced by a specially trained and certified ultrasonographer from these detected echoes based upon their intensity and time taken to return to the probe.  The images are captured in real time on the monitor and appear as both static and moving images enhancing the diagnostic capability of the test. 

Ultrasound has no known harmful effects and can be used to image a variety of conditions. Ultrasound can also be used to measure blood flow through vessels, when it is called a colour flow Doppler or Duplex scan.


An echocardiogram is an ultrasound to look at the size, shape, and motion of the heart. The test shows the 4 chambers of the heart, heart valves and the walls of the heart, blood vessels entering and leaving the heart, and the Pericardium-the sac that surrounds the heart.

Hours of Operation

Monday through Friday evening appointments only (3:30-7:30) Saturday appointments (7:30- 1:30)

Indications for Ultrasound of the Heart

An echocardiogram may be used to:

  • Evaluate a heart murmur and palpitations
  • Diagnose valve conditions
  • Find changes in the heart's structure
  • Assess motion of the chamber walls and damage to the heart muscle after a heart attack
  • Assess how different parts of the heart work in people with chronic heart disease
  • Determine if fluid is collecting around the heart
  • Identify growths in the heart
  • Assess and monitor birth defects
  • Test blood flow through the heart
  • Assess heart or major blood vessel damage caused by trauma
  • Test heart function and diagnose heart and lung problems in those who are very ill
  • Assess chest pain
  • Look for blood clots within heart chambers

Who will perform the scan?

Your examination or scan will be performed by fully trained and certified ultrasonographer (a specially trained technologist). Because the examiner is interpreting moving images on a screen, a high degree of concentration is required to obtain accurate information. Therefore, family and friends of the patient are not permitted to watch the procedure. If you have accompanying children, you will have to bring along someone to watch them during your examination.

Booking & Preparation

You will need to make an appointment for this examination. No preparation is required for this ultrasound.


For most ultrasound examinations, you will be required to change into a gown and lie on an examination bed. You will remain covered during your examination except for the area being imaged. In order to obtain optimal images, a layer of gel will be applied to the chest so good contact is made between you and the ultrasound probe. The probe will be placed directly onto the gel and your skin for the duration of the examination. 

Still images or moving images will be captured. To get clearer and more complete images, the transducer may be moved to different areas of your chest. You may be asked to change positions and slowly inhale, exhale, or hold your breath. Ultrasound examinations are not painful and generally are not invasive, but sometimes they can be uncomfortable.

Colour Doppler ultrasound uses a special technology that looks at blood flow. If you are having this examination, it is common to hear strange noises as the signals coming from the flowing blood are converted into sound.

How long will the procedure take?

Most ultrasound examinations will be completed within 45-60 minutes; however, some studies will take longer especially the colour Doppler studies. The radiologist will then interpret all images produced during the examination and the results will be forwarded to your doctor in 2-3 business days.

Important: The ultrasonographers will not be able inform you of any results. Please contact your physician or patient care provider for this information. After the test, call your doctor if you have worsening heart-related symptoms.

Day of your Appointment

Patients should arrive 15 minutes before their appointment time. Patients arriving late may be rescheduled.

Please bring your health card and requisition. Your X-ray cannot be completed unless you have a requisition or one has been faxed to us from your physician or patient care provided.

Please be aware that this is a "Fragrance Free" facility. Please ensure that you are not wearing perfume or scented products.

Please do not bring small children to your appointment, unless accompanied by another adult.

Directions & Parking

Park park off of Noxon St., in the Visitor parking lot, located to the southeast, south and southwest of the hospital. Enter the hospital through the Registration/Emergency (ER) Entrance. Continue to Registration, just up the hall and on the left.

If you have any questions or need to re-schedule your appointment, please contact our scheduling department at 519-485-9611 (Monday-Friday 8:00-5:00).

NOTE: If not properly prepared, the examination will be rescheduled.