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This test uses sound waves to look at your heart. For young people with cancer, the most common reason for having it is to make sure that your heart’s working normally before you have treatment.
It can also be used as a way of checking for any side effects of treatment, by comparing echocardiograms done before and after treatment.
You can eat and drink normally before the test, and it can be done as an outpatient. You’ll need to undress to the waist and put on a gown that opens at the front. You’ll either lie on a couch, or on a chair that has a moveable back. The technician will stick some discs onto your chest area so that an ECG| test can be done at the same time. Then the radiographer will put a cold probe (like a microphone) over your heart, on the left hand-side of your chest. You may have to lie on your side for some of the test.
You’ll feel some pressure from the probe, but otherwise the test is painless. If you have the test as an outpatient, you can go home afterwards.
Content last reviewed: 1 November 2011
Next planned review: 2013
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