Cambridge Cardiac Care Centre


Enhanced cardiac imaging with no down side or down time!

What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound or sonogram in which sound waves are used to create a moving image of your heart. This completely harmless, non-invasive diagnostic tool provides vital information about the shape, size, texture, movement and functioning of the heart’s chambers, valves, walls and blood vessels. It also helps in assessing blood-flow through various heart structures and identifying weakened, damaged or infected heart muscle where blood supply has become restricted.

We are fortunate at Cambridge Cardiac Care, to have the advanced technology of microbubble UEA echocardiography in which an IV solution containing tiny, bio-compatible micro-bubbles of ultrasound enhancing agent is administered to the patient. This allows us to see remarkably clear images for more accurate results and diagnosis. Unlike agents used for other types of medical imaging, microbubble UEA echo does not contain any dyes and does not utilize ionizing radiation. Unprecedented image quality is produced non-invasively and with absolutely no side effects.

Preparing for your appointment

Please follow these instructions the morning of your appointment

  1. Enjoy a light meal 3-4 hours before your appointment.
  2. Stay away from caffeine. No coffee, tea, chocolate or soda pop. Please also avoid decaf products since they still have trace amounts of caffeine that can interfere with your test.
  3. Your healthcare provider may have directed you to stop certain medications the day before your appointment. Please DO NOT make any changes to your medication regimen without first speaking with your healthcare provider.
  4. Wear comfortable exercise clothes the day of your appointment as if you are going to the gym.
  5. Bring running shoes or sneakers with you to change into once are called into the testing room.
  6. Bring a list of all the medications you are currently taking.
  7. Expect for the appointment to last 60-90 minutes.

Medications may affect your test

Follow your healthcare practitioner’s instructions

Some patients may be required to discontinue taking certain medications. This does not, however, apply to all patients. So, please, do not stop any medications on your own without the express instructions of your healthcare provider. They should inform you at least 48 hours prior to your appointment if a temporary hold is required. On the day of your test, you may resume taking your medications immediately following the echo test.

Our Echocardiography Team

Our Echo and Stress Echo teams are made up of some of the region’s most highly qualified sonographers; individuals who have committed to specialized training in advanced diagnostic technologies including Microbubble UEA Echo. We are privileged to have these exceptional professionals with their highly sought-after skillset on our team. Their soothing bedside manner coupled with their excellent diagnostic acumen is among Cambridge Cardiac Care’s greatest assets.

Patient Education

What you can expect, step by step.

Once you have been called into the testing room, this is what you can expect to happen:

  1. A technologist or sonographer will give you a consent form to sign and will explain the test to you. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the procedure. However, they will not be able to discuss the results of the test or what they see on the screen in any way, as per Ontario law.

  2. You will be given privacy to change into a gown that will be provided to you. You will be asked to remove all upper body clothing and fasten the gown in the front.

  3. You will lie down on the examination table on your left side until the technologist returns.

  4. A technologist or nurse will insert an intravenous (IV) line into a vein in one of your arms.

  5. The sonographer will apply some gel to a small ultrasound probe (a transducer) and will place it on your chest, pressing down at times to capture as many angles as possible of your heart and its structures.

  6. Data from the test will be reviewed by a cardiologist in a timely fashion. A report will then be sent to your healthcare provider.

  7. Following the test, you may resume your regular activities.

Why have I been referred for a UEA Echo?

Your healthcare provider may have many reasons to call for a UEA echocardiogram at this time. It is among the most common cardiac tests since it provides such a breadth of valuable information relating to the structure and function of the heart muscle, lining, chambers and vessels. As such, an echocardiogram can help:

  • assess if damage has been sustained from a heart attack

  • detect signs of heart failure

  • detect congenital heart abnormalities

  • assess problems with heart valves that affects the flow of blood in the heart

  • identify signs of cardiomyopathy in which the heart becomes enlarged or the walls become thickened

  • identify signs of endocarditis, a heart valve infection

  • detect blood clots or abnormal structures present in the heart

  • predict the development of cardiovascular conditions

An echocardiogram is among the most comprehensive tools to help cardiologists determine the best course of treatment and if further investigation is required.

How does echocardiography work?

Echocardiography is based on the same laws of nature that bats use to “see” in the dark (echolocation), that ships and fishermen use to navigate the deep sea (SONAR) and that obstetricians use to measure a baby in the womb (ultrasound). When a sound wave strikes an object, it bounces back, or echoes. By measuring these echo waves, it is possible to determine not only how far away an object is but also its size, shape and consistency.

In cardiology we use echocardiography ultrasound to detect changes in the appearance and functioning of the heart, its tissues, valves and vessels and to detect abnormal masses, such as tumors. This is facilitated by an ultrasensitive “wand” called a transducer which both sends sound waves into the body and receives the resulting echo. As the sound waves bounce off internal organs, fluids and tissues, the transducer then receives the information and records tiny changes in the sound's pitch and direction. These signature waves are instantly measured and translated into an image that is displayed on the monitor.

Why do I need an IV for this test?

Our commitment to the safe and effective use of technology in the diagnostics and treatment of our patients is unwavering. To that end, we have invested in the advanced technology of microbubble UEA echocardiography. As a pain-free, biocompatible, non-invasive test that involves absolutely no radiation, it goes above and beyond safety standards while providing improved image resolution and diagnostic accuracy.

The IV is inserted at the beginning of the appointment, however, the micro-bubble ultrasound enhancing agent (UEA) is only administered through the IV at certain phases of the appointment when it is specifically needed to enhance the ultrasound image. When an ultrasound is conducted in the presence of this IV liquid, the sound waves emitted by the machine bounce off of the microbubbles giving high-resolution, real-time, moving images of the heart, its chambers, vessels, valves and their functions. Microbubble UEA echocardiography provides a huge advantage in the accuracy and reliability of test results.

Where do these microbubbles end up eventually? Since the bubbles consist of an inert, biocompatible gas, the body simply breathes them out through the lungs. It will be as undetectable to the patient as breathing out carbon dioxide and other naturally occurring gases with each out-breathe.

Is this test covered by OHIP?

Yes. OHIP covers your Echocardiography test provided it has been ordered for medical, diagnostic purposes. On some occasions, patients require Echocardiography monitoring for insurance or ministry of transportation assessment in which case, OHIP does not cover the test and the cost of the test is charged to the patient or their insurance directly.

Wait Times

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Cardiac Test Routine Test Wait Time Urgent Test Wait Time
ABPM 2 weeks Same day
ECG 24 hours Same day
Echocardiogram 2 weeks 36 hours
Stress Test (Exercise / Treadmill) 2 weeks Same day
Stress Echocardiogram 2 weeks 24 hours
Holter Monitor - 24 Hour 2 weeks 24 hours
Holter Monitor - 48 Hour 2 weeks 24 hours
Holter Monitor – 72 Hour 2 weeks 48 hours
Holter Monitor - 2 Weeks 2 weeks 48 hours
Spirometry 24 hours Same day

The above wait-times indicate the standard benchmarks that Cambridge Cardiac Care strives to meet each and every day. Unforeseen circumstances and Public Health mandates, may effect these wait times. Rest assured that timely access is a driving force at CCC: we will get you in as soon as possible, based on your assessed level of urgency.