Diagnostics -
Information for Patients

Find out more about what to expect if you have an upcoming diagnostics appointment 

All of our clinic locations are specifically chosen to maximise patient choice and accessibility, with close links to public transport and on-site parking

Click here to see a list of all of our clinic locations

Click the relevant heading below to find out more about your appointment, or call 0300 123 1441 to speak with a member of the team

Or you can find out more by downloading the brochure here

Contact: [email protected] if you have a question about an upcoming appointment

Echocardiography

What is it?

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound scan of the heart which is sometimes referred to as an ‘ECHO’

The scan gives accurate pictures of the heart muscle, the heart chambers, and structures within the heart. This can show how well your heart is working, check how well the valves are moving inside, and help to identify if fluid has collected around the heart

Before the test

You do not need any special preparation before the test. You can eat and drink normally before and after the test and can continue to take your usual medication

What happens during the test?

The test is painless and takes about 20-30 minutes. You will need to undress to the waist and lie on the couch. A probe (a bit like a very thick blunt pen) is guided around your chest and a lubricating jelly is applied to the chest area to ensure the probe makes good contact with the skin. The probe is connected by a wire to the ultrasound machine and monitor. Pulses of ultrasound are sent from the probe through the skin towards your heart

The ultrasound waves then echo (‘bounce back’) from the heart and various structures in the heart. The echoes are detected by the probe and are sent to the echocardiogram machine. They are displayed as a picture on the monitor

The operator moves the probe over the skin surface to get views from different angles. Some abnormalities can be seen quite clearly, for example damaged heart valves, thickened heart muscle, some congenital heart defects. You may have to turn on your side during the test so the operator can scan the heart from different angles

Non-Obstetric Ultrasound

What is it?

An ultrasound scan uses sound waves (echoes) which the human ear cannot hear to create pictures of the major organs and blood vessels inside the body

These echoes are sent through the skin by a special hand-held camera and are reflected by the internal organs and structures. The echoes form a picture which is displayed onto a TV screen and can be examined by the person performing the scan. There is no pain from an ultrasound examination

Before the test

See your appointment letter for full instructions. If you are unsure call the team on 0300 123 1441

You may be asked to avoid eating either overnight for a morning appointment or for 6 hours for an afternoon appointment and/or drink plenty of water to make sure you have a full bladder

This is so that the area being examined can be seen as clearly as possible. Sometimes no special preparation is needed, it depends which area is being looked at

What happens during the test?

You may be asked to undress to the waist if needed. You will be taken into an examination room and asked to lie on an examination couch. You may be asked to change position during the scan to allow the area to be looked at from different angles. You may also be asked to take deep breaths and hold your breath for a few moments during the scan. The examination will be performed with the room lights dimmed so that the pictures on the TV screen can be seen more clearly

The Sonographer will stand by your side and a clear gel will be put onto your skin over the area to be examined.  The examination will take approximately 10-20mins. Results are then sent to the referring GP for review.  The gel will be removed from your skin, and you will be able to get dressed.  There are no effects from the scan so you may return to your normal activities as soon as you wish

ECG

What is it?

An ECG test records the electrical activity of the heart whilst you are walking about (ambulatory) and carrying out your normal activities

Before the test

You do not need any special preparation before the test. You can eat and drink normally before and after the test and can continue to take your usual medication

What happens during the test?

Five electrodes are attached to your chest. The wires from the electrodes are connected to a small lightweight recorder. The recorder is attached to a belt which you wear round your waist and records for 24-72 hours

When the device is returned the readings will be viewed and a report will be sent to your GP

You may be given an Event Monitor which you will keep for up to two weeks

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