Diagnostic Testing


Cardiac Testing

What is the test?

An echocardiogram is a gentle ultrasound test of the heart. High-frequency sound waves are used to capture images of the heart muscle, the heart valves, and the large blood vessels that carry blood to and from your heart. This examination, which is noninvasive and painless, provides your physician with information about the size, shape, and efficiency of your heart.

How do I prepare?

There is no special preparation for this test. We suggest that you wear a two-piece outfit, as you will be asked to disrobe from the waist up. You will be given a gown to wear with openings so that the technician has access to your chest wall.

What can I expect during the test?

This test is performed by a sonographer with special credentials. You will be asked to lie on your left side. A hand-held instrument, called a transducer, is moved in various locations on the chest and upper abdomen. The transducer emits and receives high-frequency sound waves. Images of your heart muscle and valves will be displayed on a monitor. These images will also be recorded on videotape for further examination by a cardiologist. An echocardiogram typically takes about half an hour.

How and when will I get my test results?

The echocardiogram is read by a cardiologist. The test results are sent to your referring physician within 48 hours, who will review them with you.

Where is the test performed?

Echocardiograms are performed in the Cardiac Services Department at Cayuga Medical Center, 101 Dates Drive, off NYS Route 96, in Ithaca.

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