A doctor using a ultrasound scan on a patient
Guiding you toward better health

Ultrasounds and dopplers are diagnostic tests used to analyze the overall function of your heart and to detect the presence of many different types of heart disease.

Echocardiography

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture pictures of the heart’s valves and chambers, allowing a sonographer to evaluate the pumping action of the heart. Echo is often combined with doppler ultrasound and color doppler to evaluate blood flow across the heart’s valves.

An echocardiography test is used to:

  • Assess the overall function of your heart
  • Determine the presence of many types of heart disease
  • Follow the progress of valve disease over time
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your medical or surgical treatments

Preparing for the test:

  • Eat and drink as you normally would
  • Take all of your medications at the usual times
  • Wear anything you like. You will change into a hospital gown before the test
  • Please do not bring valuables. You will be given a locker to store your belongings during the test

During the test:

  • Before the test, the healthcare provider will explain the procedure in detail
  • A cardiac sonographer will place electrodes on your chest that connect to an electrocardiograph (ECG) monitor to chart your heart’s electrical activity
  • Sounds are part of the doppler signal. You may or may not hear the sounds during the test
  • You may also be asked to hold your breath at times
  • The sonographer will ask you to lie on your left side on an exam table and place a wand (the sound-wave transducer) on several areas of your chest
  • You may be asked to change positions several times during the exam so the sonographer can take pictures of different areas of the heart
  • You should feel no major discomfort. You may feel a coolness on your skin from the gel on the transducer, and a slight pressure of the transducer on your chest

The appointment will take about 40 minutes. After the test, you are free to go.

After a cardiologist has reviewed your test, your physician will have access to the results and will discuss them with you.

It is very important that you keep your appointment once it is scheduled. If you must cancel your appointment, please give the office at least 24 hours notice by calling 281-446-6656. Our testing schedule requires tight time restrictions, so please notify the office immediately if you will be late for your appointment. We appreciate your complete cooperation.

Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE)

A transesophageal echo (TEE) test is a type of echo test in which the ultrasound transducer, positioned on an endoscope, is guided down the patient’s throat into the esophagus.

The TEE test allows our doctors to get a close look at the heart’s valves and chambers without interference from the ribs or lungs. Our doctors use the TEE test when results from standard echo tests are not sufficient and a closer look at your heart is necessary.

A TEE test is used to:

  • Assess the overall function of your heart’s valves and chambers
  • Determine the presence of many types of heart disease
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of valve surgery
  • Evaluate abnormalities of the left atrium

If you have problems with your esophagus, such as a hiatal hernia, problems swallowing, or cancer, please let our doctors know.

The sedation given during the test causes drowsiness, dizziness, and impairs your judgment, making it unsafe for you to drive or operate machinery. You will not be able to drive until the day after the procedure, so someone should come with you the day of the test to drive you home.

Preparing for the test:

  • Do not eat or drink anything for at least six hours before the test
  • Water is ok up to two hours before the test
  • If you have diabetes and take medication(s) to manage your blood glucose, we will give you specific instructions about taking your medication before the test
  • If you must take medication before the test, take it only with a small sip of water
  • You may wear anything you like. You will change into a hospital gown before the test
  • Please do not bring valuables. You will be given a locker to store your belongings during the test

During the TEE test:

  • Before the test, our doctors will explain the procedure in detail, including possible complications and side effects, allowing you the chance to ask questions
  • The sonographer will place electrodes on your chest that connect to an electrocardiograph (ECG) monitor to chart your heart’s electrical activity
  • Your blood pressure will be monitored with an arm cuff
  • A small clip, attached to a pulse oximeter, will be placed on your finger to monitor the oxygen level of your blood
  • You will be given a solution to gargle that will numb your throat. The physician will spray an anesthetic (pain-relieving medication) at the back of your throat
  • Medications will be put into your IV to help you relax, which may make you feel drowsy
  • You will be asked to lie on your left side on an exam table
  • We will remove any secretions from your mouth with a dental suction tip
  • The doctor will insert a thin, lubricated endoscope into your mouth, down your throat, and into your esophagus. This part of the test lasts a few seconds and may be uncomfortable. The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing. You may be asked to swallow at certain times to help pass the endoscope
  • We will take pictures of the heart from various angles once the probe is in place, though you will not feel this part of the test

You may not be entirely awake for the test as the sedative will make you drowsy. We will keep you as comfortable as possible during the test, and we welcome you to let us know if you feel uncomfortable at any time. Afterward, you may feel a temporary soreness or numbness in your throat.

The test will take about 90 minutes. After you have recovered from the sedation given during the test, you may have a responsible adult drive you home.

After the test, wait at least 2 hours or until the numbness in your throat is gone before eating or drinking. Start with a cool liquid, and if you don’t have any problems with that, you can eat and drink as you normally would.

Your physician will have access to the results and will discuss them with you.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening

The abdominal aortic aneurysm screening is used to assess the size of the aorta and determine if there is an aneurysm.

Preparing for the test:

  • Please do not eat or drink anything 8 hours prior to the test
  • Please wear a two-piece outfit

This test will take approximately 30 minutes. A technician will place a transducer on your stomach, which will send sound waves through your abdomen to the aorta and back. With the aid of computer software and a monitor, we are able to image the aorta and display it on a monitor in front of you.

It is very important that you keep your appointment once it is scheduled. If you must cancel your appointment, please give the office at least 24 hours notice by calling 281-446-6656. Our testing schedule requires tight time restrictions, so please notify the office immediately if you will be late for your appointment. We appreciate your complete cooperation.

The ordering physician will then review the results and discuss them with you.

Venous Doppler

A venous doppler ultrasound is a test to evaluate the venous blood flow to the legs to determine if there is a deep vein thrombosis, which is the clotting of blood in the vein. Complications such as pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs) occur when a clot breaks away from the vein and travels through the bloodstream.

Preparing for the ultrasound:

  • Please wear a two piece outfit
  • Please do not wear boots, jumpsuits, overalls, or a dress
  • You may take your usual medications
  • You may eat and drink as you normally would

During the ultrasound:

  • The test will last about an hour
  • A technician will place a transducer on your legs that will send sound waves to the veins and back. With the aid of computer software and a monitor, we are able to image your veins and display it on a monitor in front of you. The deep venous circulation is routinely examined to rule out the presence of blood clots.

Your doctor may also request an examination of the superficial venous system, which involves examining the great and small saphenous veins and any tributary veins, in order to look for the presence of venous reflux. Venous reflux in any of these vessels is what leads to the diagnosis of venous insufficiency and varicose veins.

There are no harmful side effects of the vascular ultrasound test.

Your physician will provide the test results to you.

Arterial Doppler

An arterial doppler ultrasound is a noninvasive ultrasound method used to examine blood circulation in the arms and legs. It is also known as a duplex study. Noninvasive means the procedure does not require the use of needles, dyes, radiation, or anesthesia.

Preparing for the ultrasound:

  • There is no special preparation before the test; you may take your usual medications and you may eat and drink as you normally would
  • Please plan to arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete the registration process

During the ultrasound:

  • The ultrasound takes about 30 to 90 minutes to complete
  • Sound waves are transmitted through the tissues of the area being examined. These sound waves reflect off blood cells moving within the blood vessels, allowing the physician to calculate blood flow in the arteries to detect the presence, severity, and specific location of a narrowed area of the arteries

There are no harmful side effects of the vascular ultrasound test.

Your physician will provide the test results to you.

Carotid Doppler

A carotid doppler ultrasound is a noninvasive ultrasound method that examines the main arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain in order to assess the stroke risk from carotid artery stenosis or narrowing of the carotid arteries.

During the ultrasound:

  • This test takes approximately 30 minutes
  • A transducer is placed on your neck with a small amount of ultrasound gel, sending sound waves to the carotid arteries and back. Using computer software, we’re able to image your arteries and display it on a monitor in front of you
  • There should be no discomfort during the test
  • You may hear noises when the technologist listens to the blood flow and records measurements

There are no harmful side effects of this test. In addition, ultrasound does not use radiation, as X-ray tests do.

Your physician will provide the test results to you.