Echo with Contrast
What is an Echo with contrast?
An echo with contrast is actually two tests in one. The echo portion consists of obtaining images of your heart using ultrasound. For more information, go to the link at the bottom of this page. The contrast portion consists of utilizing normal saline solution that is injected into a vein in your arm. The saline helps to determine if there are any holes in your heart that would allow blood to go from the right side of your heart to the left side without first going through your lungs. These holes are called defects. The holes in the top part of the heart, the atrium, are called atrial septal defects. The holes in the bottom portion of the heart, the ventricles, are called ventricular septal defects.
Is there any special preparation for this test?
No. Please wear comfortable clothes for the procedure. The total time for the test to be completed is one hour.
What will happen during the procedure?
First, the echo technician will get you ready for the echo portion of the test. This will require you to disrobe from the waist up and put on a hospital gown. Then, the technician will take pictures of your heart using a special ultrasound machine. Following this, a small needle will be placed into your forearm area which is needed for the injection of the saline contrast. Then the technician will call for the cardiologist who will be present the entire time the contrast study is in progress. Once the cardiologist and nurse have arrived, the saline solution will be injected into the vein in your arm while they view the ultrasound machine. The cardiologist will be looking for holes in your heart and will let you know upon the test’s completion your results. After this, the needle will be removed and you may get dressed and leave the facility.