TTE (Transthoracic Echocardiogram)

TTE Test: Examine Your Heart with Our Comprehensive Testing Services!

What is a transthoracic echocardiogram?

A TTE test, or transthoracic echocardiogram, is a non-invasive diagnostic test that uses ultrasound to create images of the heart. It is a common medical procedure used to evaluate the structure and function of the heart, and diagnose conditions such as heart valve disease, congenital heart defects, and heart failure.

During the test, a small device called a transducer is placed on the chest and moved around to capture images of the heart. The transducer sends sound waves through the chest wall and into the heart, which bounce back and create images that are displayed on a screen. The images can show the size and thickness of the heart’s walls, the movement of the heart’s valves, and the flow of blood through the heart.

Why would I need a TTE test?

Your healthcare provider may recommend the test for several reasons, including:

  • To evaluate the structure and function of the heart, as the test can provide detailed images of the heart, allowing healthcare providers to assess its size, shape, and function. This can help diagnose conditions such as heart valve disease, congenital heart defects, and heart failure.
  • To monitor the progression of heart conditions over time, such as heart failure or heart valve disease.
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of any treatment you may be receiving for a heart condition, and make any necessary adjustments if necessary.
  • To assess your risk of developing heart disease or to screen for heart disease in high-risk individuals.

If you have any symptoms of heart disease or are at high risk for heart disease, your healthcare provider may recommend a TTE test as part of your overall evaluation. It’s important to discuss any concerns you may have with your healthcare provider to determine if the test is right for you.

Are there any risks associated with the TTE test?

Generally, there are no significant risks associated with a TTE (transthoracic echocardiogram) test. It is a safe and non-invasive procedure that does not involve radiation exposure or the use of contrast agents.

In rare cases, some patients may experience minor discomfort or pain during the procedure, particularly if the transducer is pressed firmly against the chest wall. Patients with certain medical conditions, such as obesity or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), may also find it difficult to lie still during the procedure.

It’s important to discuss any concerns or questions you may have about the risks associated with a TTE test with your healthcare provider before the procedure. They can provide you with more specific information based on your individual medical history and health status.

How do I prepare?

In general, there is no specific preparation required for a TTE (transthoracic echocardiogram) test. However, you may want to wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothing that allows easy access to your chest area. You may also be asked to remove any jewellery or clothing that interferes with the test.

Here are some additional tips to help you prepare for the test:

  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions to ensure accurate results.
  • Avoid eating or drinking a few hours before the test, as this can interfere with the images taken during the test.
  • If you are taking any medications, including blood thinners or heart medications, continue taking them as prescribed unless your healthcare provider advises you otherwise.
  • Let your healthcare provider know if you have any medical conditions that may affect the test, such as lung disease or obesity.

If you have any questions or concerns about how to prepare for a transthoracic echocardiogram, don’t hesitate to ask your healthcare provider. They can provide you with more specific instructions based on your individual needs and medical history.

What happens during the procedure?

During a TTE (transthoracic echocardiogram) test, you will lie on a table while a trained technician or healthcare provider performs the procedure. The procedure usually takes about 30-60 minutes to complete and involves the following steps:

  • You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up and put on a hospital gown.
  • Electrodes will be placed on your chest to monitor your heart rate and rhythm.
  • A small amount of gel will be applied to your chest to help the transducer make better contact with your skin.
  • The technician or healthcare provider will place the transducer on your chest and move it around to capture images of your heart. The transducer emits sound waves that bounce off your heart and create images that are displayed on a screen.
  • You may be asked to change positions or hold your breath briefly during the procedure to help obtain better images.
  • After the procedure is complete, the gel will be wiped off your chest and the electrodes will be removed.
  • You will be able to get dressed and resume normal activities immediately after the test, unless otherwise instructed by your healthcare provider.

The technician or healthcare provider may be able to provide you with preliminary results of the test immediately after the procedure. However, a formal interpretation of the results will usually be provided by a radiologist or cardiologist and sent to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will then discuss the results with you and any necessary next steps.

What happens once the test is complete?

After a TTE (transthoracic echocardiogram) test is complete, you will be able to get dressed and resume your normal activities immediately (unless otherwise instructed). You may be asked to wait for a short time while the technician or healthcare provider reviews the images to ensure that all of the necessary information was obtained.

The images obtained during the test will be sent to a radiologist or cardiologist for interpretation. The results of the test will then be shared with your healthcare provider, who will discuss them with you and any necessary next steps. If the test shows any abnormalities or concerns, your healthcare provider may recommend additional testing or treatment.

If you experience any discomfort or pain after the test, such as at the site where the transducer was placed, you can apply a cold compress to the area for relief. It’s also important to contact your healthcare provider if you experience any unusual symptoms, such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, or fainting.


What does a normal result mean?

A normal result for a TTE (transthoracic echocardiogram) test means that there are no significant abnormalities or concerns detected in the structure or function of your heart. This means that the size, shape, and function of your heart’s chambers, valves, and blood vessels are within normal limits.

How accurate are transthoracic echocardiogram tests?

TTE tests are generally considered to be very accurate in detecting heart-related conditions and abnormalities, due to their high sensitivity and specificity. However, the accuracy of the test may depend on a number of factors, including the skill and experience of the technician or healthcare provider performing the test, the quality of the images obtained, and the specific condition being evaluated.

What should I do if my results are abnormal?

If your TTE results are abnormal, it’s important to follow up with your healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment recommendations. Abnormal results may indicate the presence of a heart-related condition or disease, which may require additional testing or treatment.

The treatment options for an abnormal TTE result will depend on the specific condition or disease that is identified. Treatment may involve lifestyle modifications, medications, or procedures such as angioplasty or surgery. Your healthcare provider will work with you to develop a personalised treatment plan based on your individual needs and circumstances.

It’s important to attend all follow-up appointments and to take any prescribed medications as directed. Making lifestyle changes, such as eating a heart-healthy diet, quitting smoking, and getting regular exercise, can also help improve your heart health and reduce your risk of further heart-related complications.

Can it be performed on patients with pacemakers?

Yes, it can be performed on patients with pacemakers. However, the presence of a pacemaker may affect the quality of the TTE image and limit the ability to obtain a complete evaluation of the heart.

If you have a pacemaker, your healthcare provider will likely take additional precautions during the the test to ensure your safety and the proper functioning of the pacemaker. This includes adjusting the pacemaker settings or using special equipment to avoid interference with the pacemaker.

It’s important to inform your healthcare provider if you have a pacemaker or any other implanted device before undergoing the test. This information will help them to determine the appropriate testing protocols and ensure your safety during the procedure.

Where can I go for a transthoracic echocardiogram test in Melbourne?

While there are many cardiology clinics available, HeartWest is the largest cardiology group in the western and northwestern corridors of Melbourne, with 4 major locations and 3 satellite sites.

At HeartWest, our qualified experts will provide you with the best cardiology care. You will experience nothing but professionalism, care and courtesy; from your first interaction with our staff, to going through tests, procedures and consultations.

Our cardiologists have expertise in all fields of adult cardiology, including;

  • General cardiology
  • Heart failure
  • Cardiac imaging (including stress echocardiography)
  • Interventional cardiology
  • Electrophysiology & pacing
  • Cardiothoracic surgery

Contact us for efficient and affordable specialist heart care services today.