The Echocardiogram (ECHO)
This test is valuable in a range of heart conditions. It is safe; does not involve any x-rays and there is no special preparation. You can return to your normal activities immediately after the test. The test typically takes between 20 – 30 minutes. During the test you lie on a couch. A special microphone is placed on the chest wall and the equipment builds up a “radar” type picture of the heart muscle and valves. The test is similar to the scans that are done in pregnant women. The scan shows the structure of the various chambers of the heart in detail and detects whether there is any significant weakness or thickening of the heart muscle. Unfortunately ultrasound machines are unable to visualise the coronary (heart) arteries.