Transthoracic Echocardiogram

What you should know

A transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) is a procedure used to check for problems with your heart. It will also show any problems in the blood vessels near your heart. Sound waves are sent through a handheld device placed on your chest. The sound waves show the structure and function of your heart through pictures on a monitor.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Risks

During a TTE, the pictures of your heart may not be clear. Shadows or reflections may be seen as heart problems when your heart is normal. With a TTE, some areas of your heart may be hard to see, and you may need other tests.

Getting Ready

Before your test:

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your TTE.

The day of your test:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

  • Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.

  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.

Treatment

What will happen:

  • You will lie on your back or left side. Your healthcare provider will place gel on your chest and move an ultrasound probe back and forth on your chest to look at your heart. You will need to lie still during the test. You may be told to hold your breath at times, or to breathe slowly. Your healthcare provider may put a contrast agent into your IV. The contrast agent will help the pictures of your heart show up better.

  • If you are having a stress TTE, you may need to run on a treadmill or ride an exercise bike. If you cannot exercise, you may be given medicine in your IV that causes your heart to work harder. During a stress TTE, healthcare providers check your heart at rest and while your heart is under stress. Healthcare providers will look for changes in your heart function as your heart beats faster and harder.

After your test:

You may be able to go home after your test. If you are staying in the hospital, you may be taken back to your room.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your procedure on time.

  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:

    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than 5 minutes or returns

    • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm

    • Trouble breathing

    • Nausea or vomiting

    • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Transthoracic Echocardiogram (Precare)

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