Understanding Echocardiograms: A Simple Guide for Patients

Echocardiograms are easier than you think at Ultrasound First.

Hi there!

Have you ever heard the word “echocardiogram” and wondered what it is? Let’s break it down in simple words. An echocardiogram, or “echo” for short, is a special picture of your heart. Think of it like a movie of your heart in action!

Why would someone need an echo?
Doctors often want to take a closer look at how a patient’s heart is working. If you’ve been feeling tired, having chest pains, or having trouble breathing, an echo can show if your heart is the reason. And guess what? It doesn’t hurt at all!

Where can you get an echo?
Good news! You don’t need to spend a whole day at a big hospital. At Ultrasound First, we have a friendly place just for these pictures. It’s like going to a regular doctor’s office, and you’ll be out in less than an hour!

What happens during the echo?

  1. Getting Ready: When you come in, you’ll lay down on a comfy bed. A nice technician will put some cool gel on your chest. This gel helps the camera see your heart better.
  2. Taking the Pictures: The technician will then use a small device (it’s called a transducer, but you can think of it as a tiny camera). They’ll move it around on your chest, capturing different views of your heart. You might hear some swishing sounds, but that’s just your heart talking!
  3. All Done: In just 30 to 60 minutes, you’ll be all finished. It’s that simple!

How much does it cost?
You have options! If you want your pictures right away, you can pay less than $300 in cash. But if you’d rather have your insurance cover it, we can help with that. We’ll talk with your insurance (pre-certify), and usually in 3 days or less, we can have you approved so your insurance will pay for the exam according to your insurance policy.

What happens after?
After the echo, a heart expert, called a cardiologist, will look at your heart pictures. This smart doctor will tell your regular doctor what they see. Then, your doctor will talk to you about the results.

One last thing to remember: Before you can get an echo, your doctor needs to write a special note (we call it an order) that says you need one. This is super important!

Final Thoughts
If your doctor says you need an echocardiogram, don’t worry! At Ultrasound First, we make sure everything is easy and comfy for you. Our team is here to take care of you every step of the way. Remember, it’s a simple, painless test that helps keep your heart happy and healthy.