Heart Failure and the Echocardiogram
How Should I Prepare for the Echocardiogram?
On the day of most echoes, eat and drink as you normally would. Take all of your medications at the usual times as prescribed by your doctor.
What Should I Do to Prepare for a Stress Echocardiogram?
On the day of the echo, do not eat or drink anything except water for 4 hours before the test.
Do not take the following heart medications on the day of your test unless your doctor tells you to:
- Beta-blockers (for example, Inderal, Lopressor, Tenormin, or Toprol)
- Isosorbide dinitrate (for example, Isordil, Sorbitrate)
- Isosorbide mononitrate (for example, Imdur, Ismo, Monoket)
Nitroglycerin (for example, Deponit, Nitrostat)
Your doctor may also ask you to stop taking other heart drugs on the day of your test. If you have questions about your medications, ask your doctor. Do not stop taking any medication without first talking with your doctor.
What Should I Do if I Have Diabetes?
The guidelines are a bit different if you have diabetes:
If you take
to control your
, ask your doctor what amount of your medication you should take the day of the test. Often, your doctor will tell you to take only half of your usual morning dose and to eat a light meal 4 hours before the test.
If you take pills to control your blood sugar, do not take your medication until after the test is complete unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
Do not take your
medication and skip a meal before the test.
If you own a glucose monitor, bring it with you to check your blood sugar levels before and after your test. If you think your blood sugar is low, tell the lab personnel immediately.
Plan to eat and take your blood sugar medication following your test.
What Happens During an Echocardiogram?
You’ll be given a hospital gown to wear. You’ll be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up. A cardiac sonographer will place three electrodes (small, flat, sticky patches) on your chest. The electrodes are attached to an electrocardiography monitor (EKG) that charts your heart's electrical activity.