An echocardiogram is an ultrasound that measures the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively.
An echocardiogram is also called a cardiac echo.
Some chemotherapy drugs used for retinoblastoma can damage heart muscle. A baseline echo is routinely done before treatment begins, and repeated periodically to check for any damage.
Sound waves echoed against the heart are used to create an image detailing the structure of the heart and valves, and the amount of blood leaving the heart each time it contracts. This information is used to measure heart health, especially health of the heart muscle.
Before the Procedure
Your child will usually be asked to undress and put on a hospital gown.
During the Procedure
A doctor, nurse or technician can perform the scan, which is painless and takes about 30-45 minutes. Your child will lie on a bed and conductive jelly will be rubbed on the skin of the chest.
The technician will use a handheld probe called a transducer or recorder, moving it around the chest. The probe emits high frequency sound waves that pass through the skin when it is placed on the lubricating jelly.
Sometimes the pressure can be a little uncomfortable, but it is not painful.
Echoes reflected from various parts of the heart are converted into an image that appears in real time on a computer screen. Video and still frames are recorded for detailed review after the scan.
After the Procedure
The technician will clean the gel from your child’s skin. You will be free to leave as soon as the technician is satisfied with the recorded images.