Had an Ultrasound of your Heart?

  • Hi everyone,

    I'm having an ultrasound done on my heart Friday to rule out mitrovalve something or other (GP and I suspect I have chest wall syndrome) and also to take a closer look at a lower branch bundle block I might have (it wasn't on the EKG in December, but showed up in February)

    Anyway... have any of you had an ultrasound done on your heart? What was it like? Am I going to have to sit there laying on a table, half naked with my chest hanging out, covered in goo, while some dude runs what looks like a hand held scanner across my chest (like an ultrasound during pregnancy is?)

    Seriously, I know it sounds incredibly stupid, but situations like this make me want to high tail it. I'm not comfortable in these types of situations and it's one of the reasons why I avoid the OB/GYN like the plague. (That, and only recently acquiring health insurance) And incidentally enough, I have my gyn appointment friday as well. Getting all that uncomfortable ickiness out of the way in one day.

    And I know doctor's are used to seeing all types of people, all types of weight and health problems. For some silly reason, that never makes me feel better.

    Anyway, just wanted to see if any of you have had an experience with this...

  • I had one, LightRaven, and it was not bad at all. When I walked in, I was super nervous, and it was before I had lost much weight so that made me feel all the more awkward about it. Not to mention it was a really hot young guy who would be doing it.

    I put a gown on, and laid down on this table. The room was dark and actually kinda relaxing. He came in and did the thing with his wand up on the top of my chest, reaching around very discreetly and professionally, then when it was time for the side pictures, part of the table on the side came down, so I didn't even have to awkwardly turn over or anything.

    I left there feeling like, "that was so incredibly much easier than I thought, no big deal at all".

    Hang in there, it will be fine. Happily, my results were normal, and I hope yours will be fine, too. Always best to just get it done.
  • I always google procedures that I need, so I can mentally prepare myself for them.


    So yes, no shirt (probably a gown), sitting up or lying down depending on what they plan to image, with the transducer against your skin (usually with some kind of gel medium to improve the signal).

    You may be asked to move (lay on your side, on your back, etc) or to hold your breath to get clearer images.

    It usually takes 20-40 minutes to get all of the images that are necessary.
  • I had one a month ago and it is a piece of cake, I had to remove my shirt and lay on my side on the table. The gal that did mine was a riot, I couldn't stop laughing!
  • Thanks Guys! I feel a little bit better about it!

    Also, do they tell you results right away, or do you have to wait? I mean, my appointment is with the cardiologist, and they have the ultrasound equipment there. I'm assuming someone will tell me if there is something amiss?

  • Quote: Thanks Guys! I feel a little bit better about it!

    Also, do they tell you results right away, or do you have to wait? I mean, my appointment is with the cardiologist, and they have the ultrasound equipment there. I'm assuming someone will tell me if there is something amiss?

    The lady that did mine said my doctor thought I may have had a heart attack at one point and didn't know it....she said I did not and would send the results to my doc...I have not seen her yet to go over the results but the one that tested me said my heart looked good Obviously there were some results that were immediate
  • Hi LightRaven,

    I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure in July 2008, so I've had an Echo done every six months since. It's not so bad. You have to take your clothes off from the waist up. Each time, they've given me a gown to put on backwards with the opening toward the front, but they also covered me with a towel. The room is usually dimmed. You'll likely have to change positions or hold your breath, but it's nothing acrobatic. *lol* Yes, the wand does look like a price scanner, but the goo wipes off easily with a towel. Good news about the wand is that no one ever really has to feel you up.

    I've had doctors tell me the general results right away, and I've had another who set up an appointment on another day to go over my results. I think it depends on the doctor, his/her schedule, and of course the urgency of the results.

    Hope all goes well!
  • Thanks for the information guys! I'm still nervous about it, but atleast more well informed. I think I'm mostly scared of judgment. I've lost almost 30 lbs, but they don't know that. They won't know I exercise atleast 5 days a week. All they are going to see is a fat chick walk in there with possible heart problems.. and no wonder?! she is a fat lazy slob..... atleast that's what plays in the back of my mind.

    Oh to turn off the incessant chatter

  • Just another in the "piece of cake" category I had one in high school when a GP thought they detected an irregular heartbeat. It was the easiest procedure I've had done and the least invasive except for an x-ray. The gel is a bit cold, but I'd much rather have an ultrasound to something like a cavity filling or an arthrogram (MRI with a dye injected deep into your joint via massive needle - that one sucked!).

    The only thing that was different about mine was that because it was performed by a male doctor they required a female- in this case my mother- be present in the room. I was above 18 but I think where I was it was a requirement by the hospital for liability reasons. Just a heads up in case they explain why a female nurse needs to be present in the room at all times during the procedure, because they didn't explain it to me but politely just said "Why don't bring your mom in here?" After I repeatedly declined because I felt it unnecessary they pretty much ordered her inside and it was then we understood why.
  • Try not to guess what they are thinking. My hope is that they entered the medical field with a genuine concern for people's health and they are there to help. And not all heart problems are weight-related. My heart problems were not caused by my weight (my weight getting as high as it did was actually partially caused by my heart problems). My doctors were stumped. The phrase I kept hearing was "otherwise healthy." After extensive testing, their best guess was nonischemic cardiomyopathy caused by a virus. Nothing to do with my weight. However, the extra weight didn't help my heart either. You are doing great already! 30 lbs! 30 lbs! If your doctor has a concern about your weight, tell him/her about your progress and the healthy choices you're making. Actually, with any heart concern, it might be the best idea to discuss your diet and exercise with your cardiologist. Being healthy is an amazing thing to do for your heart. Focus on your progress!
  • Thanks everyone! My appointment is in an hour and a half. Here is to hoping for a nice clean ultrasound! And no too much embarrassment or torture I'll let you know if they find anything, or if I run out of there crying.

  • Ok....

    I didn't get to have an ultrasound done. When I went for my appointment, they did a 3rd EKG, which came out completely normal (cardiologist thinks either user error occurred at my GP, or that their machine needs to be re calibrated.) He heard no signs of mitrovalve dysplatia (or something.. I can never remember the name) but still wants an ultrasound done as he is concerned with the heart palpitations and light headedness.

    That being said, my insurance rejected the ultrasound, saying it needed pre-approval, which takes two weeks. Apparently, someone dropped the ball, and I don't know if it was my doctor, Univ of Penn, or my insurance company, because that was what the referral was for. An Ultrasound!

    Anyway.. in the meantime, I have to wear a heart monitor for two weeks. Yay! I wonder what that is going to be like? I mean... how do you shower? And my biggest fear: two pairs of my pants that I wear for work are a bit big. They stay up, but if I have to attach a pack of some sort to the waistline, I'm in huge trouble!

    I also had my way over due annual gyno exam today and guess what? I have to have an ultrasound of my uterus too! (Trying to confirm either endometriosis and/or fibroids. ) Good news is though.. I spoke with the lady there who does referrals and she let me in on a little secret. The type of insurance I have (HMO access, which is apparently different from an HMO) means that I don't need to get a referral to see any specialist! It says so on the back of my insurance card. guess I should pay more attention to fine print!

  • I'm so glad your EKG was normal, and hopefully the Echo and Holter monitor will explain what's going on.

    I've had to do two Holter monitors (outside of the hospital anyway but in the hospital of course I had a monitor hooked up at all times). I only had to do a 72 hour and a 24 hour, so not one for two weeks. As for showering, I couldn't shower, but mine were so short that I just just washed up while keeping the monitor dry. In the hospital, my nurses had to remove the monitor and all the pads and then hook me up again after my shower. I'd ask your doctor. I know that for longer monitors they might let you take it off for like 20 minutes while you shower, and you record the time it's off. They give you extra pads and you can apply them yourself.

    As for attaching the pack to your pants... How about your bra? It might not work depending on your bust, but I just hooked it to the center of my bra in the front middle of my chest. Worked just fine for me. Stayed in place and no one could tell it was there under my shirt. They also have the little, thin fabric pouch thing that crosses over your chest and ties around your neck and lets the pack lay against your sternum. Maybe you can ask to get one.

    The whole process is more annoying than anything, but you kind of forget that you're wearing it after a while. My biggest concern was the the pads/wires coming off, but those things stick! Actually, the worst part is getting the sticky off after you're done.
  • Oh man.. I can see whacking myself in the face with that thing if I hang it around my neck while I'm exercising!

    Thanks for the information. I'll let you guys know if they find anything fun!