Echocardiography (ECHO) - Children

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An ECHO is a test that uses sound waves to create a picture of the heart. It is a very common test and does not hurt.

A person called a cardiac sonographer will do the test. This person has been trained to do ECHO tests. If you choose, Mom and Dad can stay with you during the test.

What happens during an ECHO?

  • You will need to take off or unbutton your shirt. The sonographer will put three sticky patches (electrodes) on your chest that have wires attached to them. They might feel cold.
  • You will need to lie flat on your back and stay still. You can watch TV or a movie while you are lying on the table.
  • The sonographer will be using a machine with a TV screen and lots of buttons. Some kids think it looks like a computer.
  • He/she will turn out the lights to see the computer screen. This is a good time to relax and watch TV or a movie.
  • Once you are lying flat, the sonographer will use a small device called a transducer. The transducer sends information to the ultrasound machine. A clear gel is put on the end of the transducer. The sonographer will put the transducer on your chest and will move it around to different places. This will not hurt, but sometimes the gel may feel cold on your skin.
  • You will be able to see a picture of your heart beating on the computer screen. You may ask questions about what you see. These pictures will be recorded so that your doctor can look at them later.
  • When the ECHO test is over, the lights will be turned back on and the gel will be wiped off your chest with a towel. You can take the sticky pads off your chest and put on your shirt.

How long does it take?

The exam may take 20 to 30 minutes. Remember, you need to stay still and lie flat.