How Long Does an Echogram Take? Fast Answers Here!

If you’ve been recommended to take an echocardiogram, you must be wondering how long the procedure will take. An echocardiogram or echogram, is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to create pictures of the heart. It’s an effective diagnostic tool to identify heart abnormalities and evaluate the performance of the heart.

This article will provide you with insight into how long an echocardiogram takes, what to expect before and during the procedure, and the different types of echocardiograms. Read on for a comprehensive answer to your question.

The Types of Echocardiograms and Their Duration

How long an echocardiogram takes depends on the type of echocardiogram you’re having. There are three types of echocardiograms, each with its specifications and length of the test.

Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE)

The most common type of echocardiogram is the transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE). In this test, a technician will apply gel to your chest and use a transducer to take pictures of your heart by listening to the echoes. A typical TTE test takes between 30 minutes to an hour. The length of the procedure may vary if your heart condition is complicated, and more images need to be taken.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is used to obtain detailed images of the heart, particularly the valves on a short axis view. During this test, a small, flexible probe is inserted into your esophagus, next to your heart, while you’re sedated. The doctor can see the heart’s internal structure and take pictures. TEE procedures typically take between 30 minutes and an hour.

Stress Echocardiogram

A stress echocardiogram is performed to evaluate the health of your heart during exercise. You’ll be asked to run on a treadmill or cycle a stationary bike while pictures of your heart are taken. The time taken for a stress echocardiogram depends on how long it takes to get the information required, and the necessary images attained. A stress echocardiogram can take between 60-90 minutes.

What Happens Before an Echocardiogram?

Before you have an echocardiogram, there may be some preparations that you need to make. The preparations may vary depending on the type of echocardiogram you have.

Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE)

You don’t need any specific preparation for a transthoracic echocardiogram. You can eat, drink and take medication as usual. You may be asked not to use any lotions or creams near your chest area on the day of the test. It’s advisable to wear comfortable clothes that you can quickly remove, such as a t-shirt or blouse.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

You will need to fast before a transesophageal echocardiogram. You’ll be asked to avoid food and drinks for at least six hours before the procedure. This is necessary to prevent food from interfering with the endoscope. You’ll also be asked not to smoke on the day of the test. If you’re taking medication, your doctor will advise you whether to take it or not.

Stress Echocardiogram

For a stress echocardiogram, you’ll be asked to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You shouldn’t eat or drink for at least two hours before the test as this may cause bloating or discomfort during the procedure. If you’re taking medication, your doctor will advise you whether to take it or not.

What Happens During an Echocardiogram?

The procedure for all types of echocardiograms is usually the same, with slight differences depending on the procedure.

Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE)

A TTE is a non-invasive test that doesn’t cause any pain. You’ll be asked to lie on your left-hand side while the technician applies gel to your chest. The gel helps the transducer send and receive sound waves. The technician will move the transducer around your chest to obtain images of different areas and angles of your heart. You may be asked to take shallow breaths or hold your breath for a short time during the test or switch to the left, right side or lie on your back or stomach.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

A TEE is more invasive than TTE as it involves the insertion of a flexible endoscope down your throat into your esophagus. You’ll be given a sedative to keep you calm, and your throat may be numbed to prevent discomfort during the procedure. Once the probe is in place, the doctor can move it to obtain pictures of different areas of your heart.

Stress Echocardiogram

The procedure for a stress echocardiogram is different from that of the other echocardiograms. The technician will take images of your heart during and after exercise. You’ll be asked to run on a treadmill, cycle on a stationary bike, or perform some exercise that will elevate your heartbeat to a target rate. Once you’ve reached the target heart rate, you’ll be quickly asked to lie down while the technician takes pictures of your heart.

What Happens After an Echocardiogram?

After the echocardiogram, you can go home and carry on with your daily activities. You may need to wait for the images to be reviewed before hearing about any abnormalities or conditions.

Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE)

The technician will clean the gel off your chest, and you can change back into your clothes. You can resume your daily activities immediately as there are no side effects of the test.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

After the procedure, you’ll be asked to wait until the sedative has worn off. You can’t drive back home by yourself, so you’ll need someone to pick you up. You’ll also need to avoid food or drinks until your gag reflex returns.

Stress Echocardiogram

You can leave the hospital immediately after the procedure. There are no restrictions to resume to your daily activities, except in the case that the doctor request special attention to recovering.

FAQS: Your Questions Answered

What Does an Echocardiogram Do?

An echocardiogram is a medical imaging technique used to visualize the heart’s chambers, valves, and blood flow. Doctors use the images to evaluate heart abnormalities such as lesions, clots, tumors, and structural damages.

Is an Echocardiogram Dangerous?

An echocardiogram is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure and is considered safe for most people. There are no side effects, and the risks are minimal.

What Should I Wear to an Echocardiogram?

Wear comfortable clothing you can easily remove, such as a t-shirt or a blouse. You may be asked to change into a gown if your clothing interferes with the test.

How Long Will It Take for Results After an Echocardiogram?

Once the images have been taken, it may take a few days to receive the results. Your doctor will receive the images and examine them thoroughly to determine any abnormalities or conditions that may need treatment.


Now you know how long an echocardiogram takes, what to expect during the procedure, and what the different types of echocardiogram are. Remember to follow the specific preparations required for your type of echocardiogram to ensure accurate results.


  • Mayo Clinic. (2021). Echocardiogram. Available at: <>

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