Transthoracic Echocardiogram

What is a Transthoracic Echocardiogram

A transthoracic echocardiogram is a test that takes images of the heart with the use of a transducer (probe) placed on the chest wall. Harmless ultrasound technology is used. High frequency sound waves inaudible to the human ear are sent from the probe and directed toward the heart. As the sound goes through the different structures, part of it bounces (echoes) back to the probe and is interpreted by the ultrasound machine into images of the beating heart. The images are then displayed on the monitor and recorded for future review

At Queensland Cardiology, the test is performed by a sonographer trained in cardiac ultrasound and is interpreted by a Cardiologist.

The test is useful for assessing the size of the heart chambers, wall thickness, heart muscle function, valve function, masses in the heart, fluid around the heart, presence of holes or defects between the heart chambers, and abnormalities of blood flow within the heart.

The test can take from 40 to 60 minutes depending on what information your doctor has requested.

How do I prepare for it?

There is no special preparation required.

What happens on the day of the test ?

Before the test:

• A sonographer will escort you to a private procedure room where you will be asked to remove all clothing from the waist up. A patient gown will be provided for females and otherwise as requested.

During the test:

• You will be asked to lie flat on your back as wires are placed on your chest to monitor your heart rhythm.

• The sonographer will instruct you to turn on your left side and the probe will be placed on your chest. A lubricant (gel) is used to improve picture quality and this may feel cold when applied. Gentle pressure is applied onto your chest as necessary in order to obtain the information but generally should not be painful. Let the sonographer know if he or she is pressing too hard.

After the test:

• Your study will be reported by a Cardiologist and a report will be issued to your referring Doctor.

If you have any further questions, please contact us at:

Queensland Cardiology
St Vincent’s Private Hospital Northside
North Medical Suites, Green Lifts Level 3,
627 Rode Road
Chermside Q 4032
(07) 3861 5522