Echocardiogram (Echo)

Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital is proud to have one of the most comprehensive medical imaging suites in the Upper Peninsula. By combining state-of-the-art technology and the expertise of our highly-qualified team of ARDMS certified technologists, we offer you nothing but the very best in healthcare. 

Heart ultrasounds, also known as echocardiography, a diagnostic cardiac ultrasound, or an echo, is one of the radiology services that we offer. If you are already scheduled for an echo, all you need to do on the day of your procedure is check-in at the main registration desk. After this, you will need to check-in at the Medical Imaging reception desk. Click here to view the hospital map. 

For you to be thoroughly prepared for your upcoming echo at Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, read on – because we’ll discuss all that you need to know.

What Is an Echo?

An echo is also known as a heart ultrasound, an echocardiogram, or diagnostic cardiac ultrasound. The objective of this procedure is to capture a graphic outline of the heart and its movement. 

In an echo, high-frequency sound waves called ultrasound come from a hand-held device known as a transducer. The transducer is placed on the patient’s chest (for transthoracic) or into the esophagus (for transesophageal). This then forms pictures of the heart’s chambers and valves. From the images generated here, the sonographer can assess the structure and pumping health of the heart. 

This kind of test is requested by your physician and is commonly combined with other tests such as the Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler so that the blood flow across the heart’s valves can be thoroughly evaluated.

Patient undergoing a heart ultrasound

Why Might You Need an Echo?

Physicians may request an echo to have a closer look at a patient’s heart structure and function. If you have been asked to undergo this test, it can be because the doctor detected an irregular heartbeat or because you have symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath. 

Through this test, your doctor can find out more about the following:

  • The size of your heart
  • How your heart moves and pumps blood
  • The pumping strength of your heart
  • Whether or not the heart valves are working properly
  • Whether or not the blood is leaking backwards through the valve 
  • Whether or not the heart valves are too narrow 
  • If tumours or infectious growth are present around your heart valves
  • If there are problems with the outer lining of your heart or with the large blood vessels that deliver blood towards and away from the heart
  • If there are blood clots in the heart’s chambers
  • If abnormal holes are present on the heart’s chambers

The findings can then be used to detect the presence of various heart diseases such as:

  • Heart valve disorders (e.g. stenosis, regurgitation, endocarditis)
  • Pericardial disease
  • Myocardial disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Cardiac masses
  • Septum abnormalities
  • Congenital heart disease

How to Prepare for an Echo

This procedure does not require any special preparations. You can still eat and take medications as you would normally. However, make sure to wear comfortable clothes that are easy to remove because you will be asked to change into a gown for your echo.

What to Expect During an Echo

This procedure is considered very safe. Unlike other imaging methods, an echo does not use radiation. Furthermore, the technician will make sure that the patient is comfortable in every stage of the procedure.

Transthoracic Echocardiography

The whole test will take about an hour to complete. Here is how the procedure will transpire for transthoracic echocardiography:

First, the technologist will brief the patient on what will be done during the test. And after the patient has changed into their gown, they will be asked to lie down on a table. The technologist will then place small metal disks called electrodes on the patient’s chest. These are connected to an ultrasound machine in order to monitor their heartbeat during the exam. To better see the video monitor, the room will be dark. The technician will then place gel on the patient’s chest to help the sound waves better pass through the skin. The transducer is then passed across the patient’s chest. When the test is done, the technologist will help clean the gel off the patient’s chest.

Transesophageal Echocardiography

The process will be slightly different for an transesophageal echocardiogram. The main difference is that a much smaller transducer will be guided through a thin, flexible tube in the patient’s mouth in order to access the throat. To make this procedure much easier, the patient’s throat will be numbed.

 Transducer probe is passed through the patient’s chest for transthoracic echocardiography

How Long Does It Take to Get Your Echo Results?

It may take several days to a few weeks before you will be able to claim your echo results. This is because the echo’s results are very detailed. Your physician will schedule another appointment with you so that you can discuss the results as well as the next steps to take.

Dr. Nicholas S. Hoeve, DO, FACC

Dr. Nicholas S. Hoeve, DO, FACC

Dr. Hoeve graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Grand Valley State University and earned his medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing, Michigan. He completed his Internal Medicine residency and Adult Cardiovascular Medicine fellowship at MetroHealth Hospital (University of Michigan Health) in Wyoming, MIchigan. His interests include preventative cardiology and cardiovascular imaging.

Dr. Hoeve is Board Certified in the following areas:

  • Internal Medicine
  • Adult Cardiology
  • Comprehensive Adult Echocardiography
  • Nuclear Cardiology
  • Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation

Find out More Information From Schoolcraft Memorial

Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital is a well-trusted, multi-specialty hospital located in the Upper Peninsula. We are on a mission to provide quality health and wellness care to all of our patients. If you want to find out more, you can explore our website to learn all about our services, our physicians, our hospital map, and more. 

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Read what clients have to say about Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital

Everyone in the ambulatory care/outpatient surgery were great!! They all made me feel very comfortable and did a great job!!! thank you to the whole outpatient staff and Doctor Rayner..I would recommend Schoolcraft or patient to anyone in need of surgery

Reviewer: Jeremy Sitkoski

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5 out of 5 stars

The care that was provided by The nurses (Cindy, Felicia Ruth) and staff was exceptional. The entire staff was very friendly and made you feel welcome. We received a call from Felicia the next day to check on my husband to check his pain level and do a follow up. The surgery area from check in to check out was well organized, clean, and up to date. Thank you to all of you for what you do so well and everything beyond your normal duties.

Reviewer: Maureen DesChamps

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5 out of 5 stars