2D Doppler echocardiogram with color flow determines size, structure and function of your heart and heart valves

The purpose of this study is to determine the size of your heart, to evaluate how well your heart is functioning or pumping, and to assess the structure and function of the valves within the heart.

A 2D (or two-dimensional) echocardiogram is capable of displaying a cross-sectional “slice” of the beating heart, including the chambers, valves and the major blood vessels that exit from the left and right ventricle.

A Doppler echocardiogram measures the speed and direction of the blood flow within the heart. It screens the four valves for leaks and other abnormalities.

By assigning color to the direction of blood flow, (color flow mapping), large areas of blood flow may be studied. These color flow mappings allow abnormal blood flow characteristics to be interpreted by the cardiologist.

Preparing for your color flow Doppler echocardiography appointment

Other than wearing loose-fitting clothing, there are no special restrictions or preparation prior to a 2D Doppler echocardiogram.

Although the gel is water-soluble and should not stain; it is messy and could get on your clothing, so please be aware and dress appropriately.

What should I bring with me to the appointment?

  • Insurance card
  • Referral for echo, if required by your insurance company
  • Previous echocardiogram if from outside facility

What to expect

The 2D Doppler echocardiogram with color flow heart test will take about 45 minutes.

You will be asked to remove your shirt or blouse and put on a gown or a sheet to keep you comfortable and maintain privacy.

After lying on an examination table, the technician will apply a colorless gel to your chest. The transducer will be moved back and forth across your chest to obtain several views of your heart.

You may be asked to move from your back and to the side.

Instructions may also be given for you to breathe slowly or to hold your breath. This helps in obtaining higher quality pictures of your heart.

With Doppler echocardiograms, as the transducer moves over your heart, you will hear a “whooshing” sound, much like that of a washing machine. This sound relates to the movement of blood within your heart chambers.

The images are constantly viewed on the monitor and recorded for a permanent record of the examination. This is reviewed by the physician prior to completion of the final report.