A contrast echocardiogram (or intravenous contrast-enhanced ultrasound) is a type of scan used to diagnose heart problems. Your doctor might order one if you've had a heart attack or if you've been experiencing persistent symptoms that could point to a cardiac concern.
It’s a simple and painless procedure that gives your doctor important information about your heart.
A referral letter from a consultant or GP is required before booking any diagnostic investigation.
A contrast echocardiogram is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests for heart disease and is a sensible first step if your doctor thinks you have suffered a heart attack or if you are experiencing any the following symptoms on a regular basis:
Your doctor may refer you for an echocardiogram if you have arrhythmia and they suspect another underlying cause, such as valve disease or coronary heart disease.
The echocardiogram uses sound waves to build up a picture of what’s going on inside your heart and helps show in more detail which parts aren’t working properly. It can provide a range of information including the size, function and pressures of the heart, as well as information for assessing disease of the heart valves.
The NHS offers excellent care in this area but you may find it hard to get this test done as quickly as you would like. If you have private medical insurance or are willing to pay for the procedure yourself, we can help. You may be referred to one of our respected doctors via your own GP. We can also make sure you see one of our specialised consultants within a few days of your referral to us.
We understand that your heart is in our hands. There is no greater trust and we take caring for you very seriously. If you decide to have this test with us, you’ll be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary team who understand what you’re feeling and are dedicated to your well being.
Our consultant cardiac surgeons and cardiologists are at the top of their profession. To work for us, they have to demonstrate their expertise in complex cardiac surgery and their chosen sub-specialty. A number of our expert consultants also have international reputations in their specialised fields.
They have access to some of the latest cardiology equipment so they can fully assess your condition.
We pride ourselves on our clinical excellence, you'll be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.
Spire Harpenden Hospital can provide you with a single, fixed price so there are no surprises. Please read Spire Healthcare's terms and conditions for full details of what’s included and excluded in your fixed price when paying for yourself. Finance options are available through our partner Omni Capital Retail Finance Ltd, 10 Norwich Street, London, EC4A 1BD.
Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.
All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
You will need a referral letter from a consultant or GP before booking any diagnostic investigation.
You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
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For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.
Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
We understand that having any type of medical treatment can be a time of anxiety, even for a straightforward test like this. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you every step of the way.
An echocardiogram uses standard ultrasound techniques to produce a two-dimensional image of the heart. Before your contrast echocardiogram you will be given an injection containing a special dye, which helps provide a good view of the inside of the heart.
You will need to lie down while the consultant moves an ultrasound wand over your chest. The whole procedure takes less than an hour and you will be able to go home the same day.
Your results will be compiled and any problems will be diagnosed or investigated further. The cardiologist will help you to arrange a follow up appointment where you can discuss the results in detail.
If you have any soreness from the injection we will give you pain relief medication.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
As this is a minor test and you should be able to return to normal activities the same day.
We’re with you every step of the way through your recovery, even after you’ve left hospital. If you're having cardiac care with us, we'll book you an appointment to get the results of the test within a few days. Otherwise we will send them swiftly to your NHS doctors.
We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
COVID-19 testing or antibody tests are not available as a standalone service at Spire Harpenden Hospital.