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Western Connecticut Medical Group Cardiologist Dr. Margaret Bond Discusses Echocardiogram Basics

Monday, January 14, 2013 - Danbury, CT

Margaret Bond, M.D.

Margaret P. Bond

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Most of us are peacefully unaware of how the heart keeps its steady even beat until, for example, the pulse suddenly races for no apparent reason, or the heart starts to flutter, throb, or feel as though it's skipping a beat.

According to Western Connecticut Medical Group cardiologist Margaret Bond, M.D., your doctor may recommend an echocardiogram (also called an echo) procedure to:

  • Evaluate the overall function of the heart
  • Determine if there a presence of heart disease
  • Follow-up on patients with heart valve disease
  • Assess the effectiveness of medical or surgical treatment

Dr. Bond offers the following echocardiogram basics because, she said "it's important that all patients who are referred for 'echo' testing understand what the procedure is and how it actually works to evaluate the heart."

What is an Echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram or "echo," is a test that uses ultrasound waves to examine your heart. This safe, and relatively painless procedure helps your doctor diagnose a variety of heart problems.

Why is an Echocardiogram ordered?

An echocardiogram or "echo" is useful in determining heart and chamber size, pumping strength, and in evaluating valve problems, fluid around the heart, blood clots, masses inside the heart and abnormal activity between heart chambers.

How long will this test take?

The length of the exam varies. Typically, it takes approximately 20-45 minutes, depending on the number of images that are obtained.

What do I need to do prior to the test?

No special preparations are necessary before you come to the lab for the test. Please make sure you wear a two-piece outfit as you will need to change into a gown after you remove your clothing above the waist.

What can I expect the day of the test?

Electrodes are placed on your chest and connected to wires, which attach you to the echo machine and help record the electrocardiogram (EKG). You will lie on your left side for the first half of the test, and on your back for the remaining time. Gel is applied to your chest to help conduct the sound waves and the lights in the room are dimmed. The cardiac sonographer guides a small microphone-like device, called a transducer, over your chest to obtain different views of your heart. Instructions may also be given for you to breathe slowly or to hold your breath. This helps in obtaining higher quality pictures. The images are constantly viewed on the monitor and are stored digitally for the cardiologist to read. There are no restrictions following the examination.

How will I get the results of the test?

Results are not available to you at the time of the test. The test will be interpreted by a cardiologist, who will then send the results to your primary care or other physician. These results are normally available within one (1) working day.

Western Connecticut Health Network offers five cardiac testing locations, so it's important to make sure you know which location your appointment is for. At all of our echocardiography labs, testing information is obtained by trained cardiac sonographers and the results are interpreted by cardiologists.

  • Danbury Hospital Medical Arts Center - Located at 111 Osborne Street, park in any available parking or in the Gold parking garage. Enter the main lobby and proceed to the third floor for registration. If you have further questions, call (203) 739-4999.
  • New Milford Hospital - Located at 21 Elm Street, park in the main parking lot entrance and follow the signs to registration. If you have further questions, call (203) 739-4999.
  • Ridgefield Cardiology- Located at 21 South Street, Ridgefield, CT. Upon arrival, please register at the reception desk. If you have further questions, call (203) 438-1323.
  • Southbury Cardiovascular Center- Located at 22 Old Waterbury Road, Southbury, CT. Upon arrival, please register with Cardiology Reception in Suite 107. If you have any further questions, call (203) 262-4234.
  • Brookfield Cardiology- Located at 2 Old New Milford Road, Brookfield CT. Enter the main lobby on the first floor; take the elevator to the 2nd Floor. Upon arrival, register at the reception desk, in Suite 2D. If you have further questions, call (203) 775-6292.

For more information about cardiac programs and services provided by all board-certified cardiologists affiliated with the Western Connecticut Medical Group, go to Connecticut Medical Group. To learn more about cardiovascular care at Western Connecticut Health Network, call 1-800-516-4743.

About Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network is a patient-centered health care organization established in 2010 by two nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and their affiliated organizations, to provide the highest level of care to patients throughout Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. Danbury Hospital is currently constructing a $150 million, state-of-the-art patient tower and Emergency Department. New Milford Hospital is set to construct a new $11 million Arnhold Department of Emergency Medicine. In addition to the two hospitals, other network affiliates include:

  • An integrated physician practice with primary and specialty care expertise
  • An agency for home care and community health services
  • A full-service retail pharmacy located at Danbury Hospital
  • A Level II Trauma Center with emergency medical services
  • An occupational wellness and medicine program, providing services for business and industry

Western Connecticut Health Network has centers of excellence in Women's, neonatal, cardiovascular and cancer services; weight loss and orthopedic surgery; digestive disorders and radiology and diagnostic imaging. It also offers specialized programs for sleep disorders and asthma management. Both hospitals also maintain active clinical research programs, offering clinical trials for patients with cancer and other health concerns.

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