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​Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE) is a test done to visualize the heart muscle as it pumps, and the valves in the heart as they open and close. During the test, sound waves are measured as they bounce off the structures of the heart. This is done by applying a hand-held device (transducer) to the skin of the chest over the area of the heart. The test is painless and takes about 30 minutes to complete. The test is used to detect abnormal heart valve function and poor pumping function of the heart, and to identify blood clots within the heart chambers or tumors in the heart.

Preparation:

  • Wear a shirt or blouse that opens down the front.
  • If you are a woman, you will put on a patient gown, opened down the front, for the test.
  • No dietary or medication restrictions.

During the test:

  • You will have some sticky pads (electrodes) applied to your chest and connected to a machine.
  • The technician will ask you to turn onto your left side, and will apply a warm gel to the transducer before applying it to the skin over your chest.
  • Limit your talking and movement during the test.

After the test:

  • The technician will remove the pads and provide you with a towel or cloth to wipe off the excess gel that remains on your chest area.
  • You may resume your usual activities after the test.
  • If you are seeing your provider the same day, they will tell you about the test results at that time.​
  • If the test is done on a day that you don’t see your provider, the nurse will contact you with information about the ​results after the provider reviews it, usually 7-10 days.​