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Echocardiogram with Bubble Study

Nurse With Patient

Echocardiogram with Bubble Study

“Echocardiography is a scan that uses ultrasound (sound waves) to produce pictures of the heart. The Bubble Study involves a small amount of micro bubbles being sent to the heart via a vein to watch how they travel through the heart. If you have a hole between the left atrium and right atrium (patent foramen ovale), some bubbles will appear on the left side of the heart. The test informs the doctor whether there are any congenital defects affecting the chambers of the heart. The test requires putting a small cannula in your vein. It does not use radioactivity and is without side effects.”



What is an Echocardiogram with Bubble Study?

An Echocardiogram or ‘Echo’ is a scan that uses ultrasound (sound waves) to produce pictures of the heart. The test is painless and without side effects. It does not use radioactivity. The Bubble Study involves a small amount of micro bubbles being sent to the heart via a vein to watch how they travel through the heart.

What does it involve?

The test will be performed by an Echocardiographer who is either a Cardiac Physiologist or a doctor. The test will take place in a private room. You will be asked to remove all clothing from the waist up and will be offered a gown. If you require a chaperone, you may bring a friend or relative. Alternatively, the hospital may provide a chaperone at your request. You will then be asked to lay on you back or on your left side on a couch. Lying on your left side will allow the Echocardiographer to obtain the best pictures. Gel will be applied to the chest area via a small probe (transducer) moved over the skin first, then the stomach and sometimes the neck to view the heart from different angles. During the Echocardiogram you will hear sounds coming from the machine, which represent blood flow through the heart.

In order to perform the bubble study a doctor will insert a cannula into your arm or back of the hand. A doctor specifically trained in performing bubble studies will prepare the micro-bubble solution (saline solution) and will then inject them through the cannula whilst you are being scanned by the Echocardiographer. The micro-bubble solution maybe injected a number of times (2 or 3 usually) to ensure good quality images are produced. You maybe asked to perform a ‘valsalva manoeuvre’ which is a straining motion achieved by holding your nose with your fingers and pushing against them as if trying to make your ears pop.

The echocardiogram will take approximately 45-60 minutes to complete.

How will I feel during the test?

A little pressure is applied via the probe onto the skin, which may feel uncomfortable at times. Otherwise the test in general is without side effects.

Why is it being done?

An Echocardiogram gives your Doctor information about how well the heart pumps and whether your heart valves are working properly. The bubble study provides information about whether a small abnormal communication of blood is present in the heart between two cardiac chambers (a hole).


An Echocardiogram with bubble study is generally safe, and complications are rare.


Are there any special precautions that I need to take before the test?

No. You can take all your medication as normal. You can eat and drink as normal.

After the Test

Once the Echocardiogram with Bubble Study is complete you can get dressed and leave. There are no limitations to what you can do after the scan, for example, you may drive.



We are unable to provide results of the test on the day of your appointment. All results will be sent to the referring doctor. You will need to arrange a follow up appointment with the doctor to discuss the results of the test(s).

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