What is an Echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram (echo) is an ultrasound of your heart. High-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) create real-time moving pictures of your heart.

What to expect during your Echocardiogram
At the beginning of the test, ECG electrodes will be placed on the patient’s chest to monitor the heart rate and rhythm. The patient will then lie on their left side. A small probe with water-based ultrasound gel will be positioned on the chest to take still and moving images of the heart. Once the test is complete, a detailed report will be finalised by a specialist imaging Cardiologist and sent to the referring doctor – where you will get the results.

 Preparation and side effects
An echo is a very safe test. There is no preparation required. Occasionally, tenderness may be felt from the probe being placed on the ribs. This is a non-invasive test; therefore no needles, radiation or dyes are required. Please allow up to 30 minutes for the test to be completed.

Why would you need an Echocardiogram?
An echo is useful to diagnose, monitor and create a treatment plan for your heart health. Common pathology assessed during your test:

  • The size of the chambers in the
  • Weakness in the muscle of the heart from significant blockages in your coronary arteries.
  • The valves of the heart – if they are ‘leaking’ or ‘narrowing’.

Common reasons your doctor might refer you for an Echocardiogram

  • Chest pain at rest or on exertion
  • Shortness of breath at rest or on exertion
  • High blood pressure
  • The doctor can hear a murmur when listening to your heart
  • Irregular heart rhythms/ECG’s.
  • Leg swelling

How to book your Echocardiogram
A doctor’s referral is required for an echocardiogram. It is always good to talk with your doctor about your heart health and what, if any testing may be required.

If you have a referral for an echocardiogram, kindly contact the UQ Healthy Living reception at (07) 3443 2586 to schedule an appointment. The results will be with your referring doctor within 24 hours.

UQ Healthy Living will offer the service at an introductory rate of $345. All eligible patients will receive a $212.50 rebate from Medicare. You are considered eligible if you are registered with Medicare and have not had an echocardiogram within the last 24 months.

UQ Healthy Living will be running its first echo clinic next Friday the 16th of February.

Below are some examples of the images we can see during your echocardiogram.

Colour Doppler imaging is used on the valve to assess for any leaking or narrowing.

A standard view of the heart where you can see two valves and four chambers of the heart.

A side on view showing valves within the heart opening freely.