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Pediatric Echocardiogram

Lee Health: Your Trusted Heart Specialists For Diagnosing Pediatric Cardiac Diseases

At Lee Health our pediatric cardiologists have the experience and knowledge to help you understand your child's unique cardiac care needs and how we can help. Our specialists offer the most effective and advanced cardiac treatment options to treat your child's cardiac condition.

What is a pediatric echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is a test conducted using ultrasound (sound waves) that create images of your child's heart. Additionally a Doppler test, a test using sound waves, is used to measure the speed and direction of blood flow in your child's heart. With these tests our pediatric cardiologists are able to get useful information to assess your child's heart anatomy, function, and health. This test can be performed on children of all ages and helps diagnose heart defects that your child may have at birth.

  • Your child's cardiac health is at the heart of our mission: To use the latest technology to diagnose and provide ongoing care while creating a warm environment for families.

How Pediatric Echocardiogram (Echo) Tests Work

We may perform this test in a clinic, a hospital, or at an outpatient center. For this test, a child may be lying down or lying in their parent's lap--whatever helps keep them comfortable.

A trained sonographer will perform the test, and one of our cardiologists will read the results. Our expert team performs this test to examine heart valves, blood vessels, and chambers of your child's heart if your child has an abnormal genetic test, birth defects, increased risk, or shows the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Poor growth
  • Leg swelling
  • Heart murmur
  • Bluish color around the lips when crying
  • Chest pains
  • Unexplained fever
  • Germs in a blood culture test

Pediatric Cardiology Centers Serving Southwest Florida

Transthoracic Echocardiogram

TTE is the most common type of echocardiogram:

  • A sonographer puts gel on the child's ribs near the breastbone. The sonographer uses a hand-held transducer to press the gel on the chest. 
  • The transducer uses high-frequency sound waves and measures the echo coming back from the heart and blood vessels.
  • The echocardiography machine converts these impulses into moving pictures of the heart. We also take still pictures.
  • The procedure allows us to see the heart as it beats while also showing the heart valves and other structures. 
  • The sonographer may also inject contrast dye through an IV to see inside the heart.
  • The test lasts for about 30 to 60 minutes.

How to Prepare for a Pediatric Echocardiogram

You can take these steps to prepare your child before the procedure:

  • Your child can eat or drink normally prior to the test.  Parents are encouraged to bring formula or breast milk for newborns and Infants.
  • Do not use any cream or oil on your child before the exam.
  • Parents should explain the test to older children so they understand to remain still during the test.
  • Younger children less than 4 years of age may need sedation to help them stay still.
  • We advise parents to give younger children a toy to hold or have them watch videos to help them stay calm. Our staff can also help!

How a Pediatric Echocardiogram Feels

  • We will ask your child to remove clothes from the waist up and lie flat on the exam table.
  • We will place electrodes on your child's chest to monitor the heart.
  • We will apply gel to your child's chest, and the gel may be cold! The transducer may cause a light pressure on your child's chest.

Pediatric Cardiology Specialists Near You

What do abnormal results from a pediatric echo mean?

It's important for parents to remember that some abnormal findings are minor and do not pose risks.

However, some abnormal results may show signs of heart disease. Your primary care doctor, working closely with a pediatric cardiologist, will put an effective treatment plan into action and make sure everyone is informed and on the same page. 

The echocardiogram can help detect:

  • Abnormal heart valves
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Birth defects of the heart
  • Inflammation or fluid in the sac around the heart 
  • Infection in the heart valves
  • High blood press in the blood vessels to the lungs
  • Source of a blood clot

Related Pediatric Echocardiograms