A painless test that uses ultrasound to create a moving picture of the heart. The images are displayed in real time, and families can often view the test as it is performed.
Special preparation required: Sometimes. Patients may be asked to refrain from eating a couple of hours before the test.
Length of actual test: 20-45 minutes. Television, a movie or your child’s choice of music can help distract and pass the time.
Uses: Echocardiograms give insight into the anatomy of the heart, blood flows within the heart and are often the most precise way to diagnose heart defects.
Sedation/anesthesia required: Sometimes. An accurate “echo” requires a still patient. If that’s not realistic given a child’s age or other considerations, we’ll discuss whether to enlist our pediatric anesthesiologists.
• Without sedation, the patient will be able to resume normal activities immediately, unless the physician instructs otherwise.
• With sedation, your child may feel groggy, tired, or sleepy for a period of several hours after the procedure. Any sedation effects should disappear within a day.