The ultrasound scan of the heart is non-invasive, harmless and painless.
The scan examines the cardiac activity. The ultrasound scan is one of the most important examinations for detecting and monitoring cardiovascular diseases. It enables an excellent display of cardiac structures and their functions. Besides the display of cardiac structures, the ultrasound examination with the Doppler method enables the display of the flow of blood in heart chambers and blood vessels.
The ultrasound examination can detect the following:
- size and shape of heart chambers and large blood vessels,
- activities of the left and right ventricles (expansion, contraction),
- the flow of blood inside heart chambers and in large blood vessels,
- the form and activity of heart valves,
- the condition of the pericardium,
- growths in heart chambers (blood clots, tumours),
- wrong connections between heart chambers (innate, acquired).
Preparation for examination
No preparations are required for the ultrasound scan of the heart. Patients can eat and drink normally before the examination. If they take medicines, they should take them as usual, unless ordered otherwise by the doctor. It is desirable for patients to tell what medicines they take and in what doses. They should bring all documentation about previous heart examinations. As the thorax is exposed during the examination, it is recommendable to wear clothes that can be taken off easily.
During the examination, patients lie on the left hip with their left arm under their head. Sometimes they must hold their breath during the examination.
The duration of the examination depends on the complexity of heart changes and tissue transparency. It may take from 20 minutes to an hour.