Brugada Syndrome Diaries

When thinking about fundraising for a charity, CRY was an obvious choice for me as they’ve done so much for my family and I when we were younger. When I was just six years old and my Brother hadn’t even turned two yet we lost our Dad, he was just 34 years old himself. This was back in 2003 when knowledge wasn’t as advanced as it is now, so his death was classed as SADS, which can be known as Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. Mum’s always have a sixth sense when it comes to their children which is why mine insisted on making sure there wasn’t another reason my Dad passed away so young. My Mum first heard about CRY from the newspaper, she contacted them about our story and we were fast tracked for screenings at St George’s Hospital in London which is where we have remained for annual non-invasive heart tests.

Last year, I turned 20 years old and the clinic decided it was time for me to have an Ajmaline test, which diagnosed me with Brugada Syndrome. Following my diagnosis, I have created a blog called Brugada Syndrome Diaries to write about my story. This was to let others know that having a heart condition can be scary at times but I found strength and comfort in knowing I’m not alone and that’s what being involved with CRY has made me feel.

I contacted my local secondary school in hopes they would be able to facilitate a fundraiser day for CRY. This was about two months in advance of when I was planning the event to happen so there was plenty of time to order posters from CRY and have A LOT of practice tests with the cakes! Luckily my Brother still goes to this school and his lovely head of year got back to me and we began throwing ideas back and forth and it eventually came to a two-day bake sale for years 10 and 11. The bake sale was open to all years, but the awareness video I then created was aimed for the two eldest years. This was because CRY’s heart screening programme is for those 14-35 years old, so this gave me a target audience within the school to work with.

When preparing for a fundraiser such as a bake sale, make sure you practice again and again just to make sure there is no slip ups! It’s a good job everyone in my family has a sweet tooth because I practiced my cakes that many times I don’t think they’ll be eating anymore cupcakes anytime soon! I knew that I was catering for potentially a lot of people so around 40 cakes were made each day I had the bake sale and that is a lot of work to do by myself. So, I recruited some help, one of my friends Natalie who actually attends sixth form at the school and also my Mum, who both iced cakes beautifully and a lot better than I was doing them! Both days I sold out of cakes and to be honest I never expected to sell out completely on the first day let alone both! I did also make a video which was circulated around all of the tutors who were supposed to show it to their group of kids just to raise some awareness for CRY and the amazing work they do. I decided a video was the way to go because it encourages active engagement within that age group, I wanted it to be something they actually paid attention to and learnt from.

For the bake sale to be such a success meant so much to me because I have raised some money for the charity that has done so much for me and my family over the years. I have raised a total of £78.72 which for a local secondary school in a village in the middle of nowhere is pretty good going!

If you would like to read anymore about my story, please feel free to visit my blog via the link to learn more http://brugadasyndromediaries.wordpress.com/

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Rebekah Goddard

Living with long QT syndrome

Even at the age of nine the signs were there, but no one realised what they meant. I recall going home from school near to tears as I had, had a ‘panic attack’ in the school assembly hall…. yet again. My heart pounded and I felt sick as well as cold sweats and on top of that my head was spinning and it was all I could do to stop myself from collapsing. The whole school was watching and imagine just how embarrassing it would be if I fainted in front of them all. The fifteen minutes between then and break time seemed to be an eternity, until I could take it no more. It got to the point where I begged to be taken to the doctors. But all he said was count to ten and breathe into a paper bag. I resorted to asking the teachers to let me stand on the end of the row so I wasn’t in amongst everyone. I felt safer there, despite the fact I knew they all thought I was attention seeking. Being on the end of the row eased my panic a little, but the attacks still haunted me and not always during assemblies.

At thirteen I went to the upper school where the attacks continued, but I grew so used to them that they became a normality. During my A-levels I developed a passion for photography, which I studied in every minute of my spare time. I eventually sourced some equipment and set up my own dark room in my bedroom.

I finished developing late one night and put the chemicals back into their screw-top containers, washed out the trays in the bath and clambered into bed. It wasn’t long before I drifted off into a deep sleep. The alarm went off and I got out of bed, then everything went hazy. People were talking about me, but I wasn’t there and what was that loud whirring noise. My head was pounding like someone had clubbed me with a baseball bat. I opened my eyes, and everything was blurry without my glasses. Where was I? Why wasn’t I in my own bed? Where was my mum? I wanted my mum.

My mum appeared and when I asked her what I was doing here, she had no answers. Had I had an accident, or been in a car crash? Why couldn’t she tell me what I was doing in hospital? The nurses were none the wiser either.

My parents were used to me being noisy in the mornings, but for some reason on that particular morning a loud bang had made my dad paranoid and caused him to get up to check what I was up to. After no answer to his calls he opened the bathroom door and found me in a heap on the floor. He dragged me onto the landing. I had no pulse and I wasn’t breathing. It was then that my dad saved my life. He had been part of a mountain rescue team back in the fifties when he was in the RAF, and everything he had learnt came flooding back. He gave me mouth-to-mouth and called for my mum to dial 999. She couldn’t even remember where we lived when asked by the operator!

By 11.30am the doctors had completed a series of blood and urine tests which had shown no abnormalities, and so decided, to the disgust of my parents, to let me go home. They put my ‘event’ down to inhalation of photographic chemicals and an adverse reaction. As we were leaving the hospital my dad suffered angina pain, but fighting off the nurses he announced that he was taking his daughter home! What a cool dad!

Eight years on and I had spent the night at a friend’s house. The alarm had gone off and once again everything went hazy… I woke up face down on the floor, then I realised I had wet myself and all over my friend’s carpet. That’s all I could think about until I tried to get up, but just collapsed. My body felt like a dead weight. I dragged myself across the floor and pulled myself up the door before collapsing onto the landing. My friend heard the bang and ran up stairs to find me sobbing and desperately trying to talk, but I couldn’t utter a word, my speech was very, very slurred.

They took me into a different hospital this time, where after being kept in for a week they concluded that I had epilepsy and that it had only just manifested itself. They could not give a proper diagnosis unless I had a secondary seizure. They didn’t think that the event eight years previously and this event were related, but I had my suspicions. The worst thing of all was that they took away my driving licence. I became quite depressed about this, where I live, you can’t do much without a car.

Eight months on and the same thing happened. I woke up in hospital, was violently ill before I passed out and woke up the next day on an upstairs ward. My husband had found me having a massive seizure in bed just two minutes before he was about to leave for work. What if he hadn’t found me and he had left on time, instead of being late like he was? It doesn’t bear thinking about. That seizure lasted an hour and a half before they managed to get me off to hospital. One of the ambulance men remembered me from eight years previous (he remembered the massive hole I had kicked in his door!). He said he had never seen anyone else suffer a seizure for so long, and that’s why he had remembered me.

I started the epilepsy tablets soon after I woke on the ward. I then settled down in my bed to watch the tennis. All of a sudden my heart started to pound so hard I thought I would bounce off the bed. A middle school panic attack only a hundred times worse. I managed to press the buzzer before I passed out. I woke up in a side room and because of that I knew it was serious. I was astounded when they announced that I had a heart problem and that I had to be rushed down to x-ray for a temporary pacing wire to be placed into my heart. They did an ECHO of my heart and then wheeled me down. I was conscious throughout the procedure. Had I not been so shocked I would have been scared stupid, but I found myself becoming intrigued by the whole thing. At the end of it I came out with a large box attached to my arm. My pacing box. I spent the next two weeks on the cardiac care unit surrounded by grannies and middle-aged men with angina and heart problems. I should have had an award for the longest stay on the ward. They monitored me night and day and even tried turning the pacing box down on the odd occasion, but that ended in disaster as I kept collapsing on them. They put a twenty-four hour tape on me and took a reading of my heart and the doctor concluded that I was in need of a permanent pacing box of my own. That Thursday was pacing day in the hospital, and if I was good, I could go home on Friday evening. My heart was beating on it’s own at between 30 – 35 beats per minute as opposed to 60 plus beats.

Nearly a year on and after a little tweaking here and there that pacing box has become my best friend. I can still feel it thumping me now and again and I thought I would never get used to it, but I wouldn’t ever consider not having it. The lump where it lies is annoying still but it’s great for freaking people out! And I tell you what though; it’s a good conversation starter!

Best of all, I made my wedding day, despite everything. I couldn’t understand why so many people cried so much. I guess it hit them more than me that I shouldn’t have made it that far. I never saw my dad cry in my whole life, until he cried openly in front of 100 people. I couldn’t have made it as far as I have without him.

Catherine McGough

Living with endocardial fibroelastosis

My name is Catherine and I thought I would tell my story so that maybe it will give others a bit of hope.

I am now 24 yrs old. When I was 7 weeks old back in December 1979, I was rushed into the Leeds General Infirmary having heart failure.

After I’d had some tests done it was decided that I was to be transferred to the main heart hospital in Leeds at the time (and until 1997 when it was closed and the new heart department was opened at the Leeds General Infirmary) – Killingbeck Hospital. At first, the doctors said if it was one type of heart condition I wouldn’t live a week and if it was another I may not live a year. In the end it was confirmed that I had endocardial fibroelastosis.

My parents were told at the time there was only a 1 in 4million chance of a baby ever getting this disorder, and had I been born 10yrs earlier there would have been nothing they could have done for me at all. The only way I could be treated was by drugs and if that didn’t work there was nothing else they could do. My parents were even ready to have me baptised. I was in hospital for about a month and a half.

I had only been discharged a few days when I had to be admitted again. I had developed pneumonia and it put me right back to square one. Obviously this time around I had a higher chance of dying. I had to be put in an oxygen tent. I was in for about a month. On discharge I was about 4 months old and I only weighed about 8lbs. Having said that, I was a small baby at birth weighing just under 5 and half pounds despite being 2 weeks overdue.

After that I was regularly seen in the out-patients, and every time I was seen I was getting better, and the time in between my next appointments got further apart. I was on digoxin regularly until I was about 2 years old and up until then I wasn’t allowed solid food.

After this my appearance totally changed. I looked healthier, my hair looked less straggly, and my teeth were stronger. However, when I was 3 years old I had to have some baby teeth taken out as the antibiotics had rotted them.

After my out-patients appointment at 5 years old they said I was well enough to attend out-patients every 4 years; so I went at 9 years and then at 13 years. I don’t really remember going to hospital now, but I do remember my appointment 2 days after my 13th birthday. As usual I had an ECG, Chest X-Ray, I was weighed (as I had stayed underweight for a long time) and I had an ECHO. After that I saw my consultant. He looked at my results and said, “Even though I know the damage is there, your results have come back and they are all at the lower end of being in the normal range of what your heart should be.”

“The only thing wrong is that your ECHO still shows left ventricular dilation, but this has remained like this for a long time and I don’t expect it to get any better or worse. I think you are able to manage on your own without a regular medical check up and I am going to discharge you.”

Obviously this was news that my parents had longed to hear for a long time. At the time I was pleased but I had never worried myself about it throughout my childhood, everybody else did that so it was more of a relief to everyone else than it was to me.

I was discharged on 28th October 1992 and except for a bit of tachycardia after a PE lesson once I’ve never looked back since. I have been discharged 12 years this October and I can safely say that I have lived a normal life from being a child, which I thank both my doctor and my parents for, as my consultant advised them very early on not treat me like an invalid and due to that I don’t let anyone treat me as one.

My only precaution now is that I have to have antibiotic cover (amoxicillin) before dental treatment and anything involving the upper respiratory tract. As much as I have gone off amoxicillin – as I quite liked it when I was little, now it has a tendency to make me gip! – it’s a small price to pay and I know how lucky I am. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to live when no-one expected me to and to have a normal life especially as a child, as I know there are so many children who spend their lives in and out of hospital having operation after operation. I touch wood have never had an operation in my life – having those teeth out is probably the nearest I’ve ever got to having one as I was put to sleep for it.

I hope my story gives other people hope in similar situations and hope it shows that endocardial fibroelastosis is not always fatal and there is some hope for others who have it.

Rob Jackson

Living with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC)

I am a 31 year old Sergeant in the Army Air Corps and until recently was a Lynx Helicopter pilot and aircraft commander operating in Northern Ireland. I joined the Army at 18 and have spent the past 12 years living an active, healthy lifestyle as a soldier.

I passed the Army Pilots Course in 2001 and have enjoyed the challenge of flying the Lynx MK7 and MK9 Helicopter. I have served in Germany, Bosnia, Canada, Poland, Cyprus and Northern Ireland.

I am a keen sportsman and have represented my Corps at rugby and windsurfing. I cycled approx 10 miles a day to and from work and considered myself as one of the fittest amongst my work colleagues.

It was Saturday 26th September 2006. I’d been out for a run with my dog Amber in the morning and was heading out for a few beers with the boys that evening. On our return from the club in the car, I found myself sweating and out of breath, it was about 2am. I got home and remember my partner giving me grief for the state I was in. I could feel my heart racing and decided to call an ambulance as I was struggling to remain conscious.

The paramedics arrived in what seemed like minutes and diagnosed me as being in VT (ventricular tachycardia), with a sustained heart rate of 240 bpm. I was rushed to Antrim hospital and was defibrillated back into normal sinus rhythm.

I spent a week in hospital connected to an ECG and showed no further symptoms. I then had an ECHO scan on my heart and exercise stress test on a tread mill and still showed no symptoms of VT. My consultant, Dr Tom Trouton, discharged me with suspected arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) and I was to return at a later date for an angiogram and EP studies. These were both carried out and I was still un-diagnosed. The next step was for me to have a cardiac MRI scan which I would have to wait for 4 months. Luckily the Army paid for my MRI privately at St Georges, which confirmed that I had ARVC.

I was shocked, I considered myself as a healthy and fit guy, with a promising future as a pilot and until that night in September, I’d had no symptoms at all.

On 19th January 2007 I was admitted to the Royal Victoria hospital in Belfast to have my implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) fitted, which will protect me from abnormally fast heart rhythms. I was discharged the same day and am currently on 2 weeks sick leave to recover.

I am slowly coming to terms with the fact I’ll never fly again, or do all the things I’ve enjoyed as a soldier. I am lucky though, I very nearly didn’t make it. I’ve had a lot of help from my friends and family and the Army have re-employed me as an instructor.

I’m already planning a fund raising sponsored walk for the summer to help support CRY. I think their national screening programme is invaluable as most people with my condition are diagnosed when its too late.

Ellie Brogan

Living with Wolff Parkinson White syndrome

My name is Ellie Brogan, I am 15 years old and suffer from Wolff Parkinson White syndrome (WPW).

I really want to raise money for your charity and thought I would start by telling you my story and the reason why I want to raise money.

When I was 7 years old, I was experiencing heart palpitations but after a visit to the doctor they could not find anything wrong and all was well for 8 years!

Then, in March 2008 (aged 14), I went back to the doctors with the same problem and was admitted to hospital. I had ECGs, blood tests, ECHOs and X-rays. It was the scariest day of my life for me and my parents as we didn’t know what was wrong.

I was diagnosed with Wolfe Parkinson White syndrome and had to stay in hospital to be monitored. After this I had regular visits to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool and throughout the course of my many visits, was fitted with various heart monitors and a cardio call to take home with me.

I was going to have to undergo a cardiac ablation and thus was referred to Broadgreen Heart and Chest hospital in Liverpool to see a different consultant.

By this time I was quite used to hospitals and all that was involved and after many more tests and observations I received fantastic news – the WPW was not bad enough to have to undergo the procedure.

So, although I still have WPW and experience palpitations, I am really reassured knowing that they are nothing to worry about.

I still have regular visits to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital but I know it is nothing to worry about.

Claire Herridge

Living with left ventricular wall abnormality

A year and a half ago, when I was 34, I was out running when I experienced heart palpitations, chest pain and shortness of breath. I was taken by ambulance to Southampton General Hospital.

This was a shock to me as I am a PE teacher and have always lead a reasonably healthy and active life. After a few hours in hospital my symptoms had settled and I was just about to be sent home when a doctor asked for an ECG as he still wasn’t happy with my heart rate.

This was taken and it showed a massive abnormality. After several ECG’s, echocardiograms and then an MRI scan, I was diagnosed with having a large mass in the left ventricular wall of my heart.

This resulted in me having open heart surgery to have the mass removed. The surgeons said it was the size of a tennis ball and if I hadn’t recently seen the photographs of the operation I wouldn’t have believed it myself….. but it really was that big!

The mass was benign and I am now feeling good and am hoping to start running again soon. I take beta-blockers every day and have resumed my job as a PE Teacher.

The doctors still don’t know why this mass occurred and apparently the condition is extremely rare, but they continue to research as to why and how it occurred.

Steve Jackson

Having a myxoma diagnosed

A married father with two young children, recently promoted to Detective Inspector in The City of London Police and having been appointed onto the City Security Magazine editorial committee, life was going pretty well for Steve Jackson.

In the summer of 2008 my world was turned upside down. I started to expereince breathlessness and chest pains, particularly noticeable following exertion.

Combined with unexplained weight-loss, the period culminated in a couple of sudden fainting episodes I went and saw my GP and following an ECG test I was admitted into hospital for further investigations. As a result of an echocardiogram (ultrasound scan of the heart), cardiologists soon discovered I had developed a fairly rare myxoma (benign) tumour inside my left atrium.

Needless to say this was quite a shock, given my age and no previous history. I underwent emergency open-heart surgery at The Cardiothoracic Centre, Basildon, Essex and following this lengthy operation surgeons were able to successfully incise and remove the tumour.

Along with the National Health Service, I am also very grateful to my fellow commuters the day of one of my faints, who thankfully had knowledge of first aid; placing me in the all important ‘recovery position.’

In doing so they moved the then undiagnosed tumour off my obstructed mitral valve (regulates the flow of blood) and probably saved my life.

I have since made a full recovery and returned to work. It is my strong desire to raise awareness of CRY and their aims.

Julia Hubbard

Living with right ventricular outflow tract ventricular tachycardia (RVOT-VT)

I have represented Great Britain in Bobsleigh since 2006 and In October 2007 I crashed in a race and sustained fractured vertebrae and tore all the ligaments in my thoracic spine. I was out of the sport for the rest of the season while I recovered and had rehab.

In April 2008, a month after returning to training, I began to feel dizzy, faint and breathless while I was training.

My heart would feel like it skipped a beat and then race out of control – over and over again while I trained. I went to the doctor who did a basic ECG and told me it was stress and signed me off work for a couple of weeks.

Initially I was only getting symptoms in the gym and track so I was sure it wasn’t stress. I called my team doctor who immediately called me to the Olympic Medical Institute for an exercise ECG. I met Greg Whyte and some of the CRY team and less than two minutes into the test my symptoms started and the test was suspended and I was rushed straight to hospital for an echocardiogram. A week later I was back in London for more tests and an MRI scan. My ECG and symptoms were consistent with two conditions – arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (a condition that can cause young sudden cardiac death) and right ventricle outflow tract – and they had diagnosed which I had. I was diagnosed with right ventricular outflow tract ventricular tachycardia (RVOT-VT).

The treatment was a lifetime on beta-blockers, which pretty much ended my chances of continuing with competitive sport! As soon as I took the beta-blockers I felt great – my symptoms stopped and I could start to train. I just managed to retain my place on the GB team for the 08/09 season but over the next few months my fitness just got worse and worse. I ended up as a reserve for the season and every time I tested my power, speed and strength, my scores were declining at an alarming rate. In March 2009, I came off the medication as I was so unhappy with the effect it was having and my symptoms returned even more severe than before. I decided to try and live with it, which turned out to be impossible.

I was exhausted all the time – sleeping 10 or 11 hours a day – and at its worst I couldn’t even walk without feeling faint. I couldn’t complete a full training session and was devastated, I just felt ill all the time. I lost my place on the GB team and with it my health insurance, so CRY stepped in and put me in touch with Dr Sharma [now Professor Sharma] who has been monitoring me ever since.

He has explained the condition and the triggers which are not completely understood, but for me appear to be a combination of adrenaline, exercise and stress. RVOT-VT is caused by an extra natural pacemaker that starts firing as well as the main pacemaker and causes the heart rate to shoot up and all the symptoms I experience.

In December 2009, as mysteriously and suddenly as my symptoms started, they virtually stopped. I have been able to start training fully again. I decided to compete in Figure Competitions (a type of women’s bodybuilding) as I needed a goal to aim for and I have placed second in three competitions this year and qualified for next year’s British Finals.

My goal is to compete internationally in 2011 in Figure Competitions. I have also decided to train for the World Master Athletics Championships in 2011. In November this year I was able to return to international Bobsleigh, competing in a European Cup race and achieving a start placing top 10 in the field, which I was really proud of considering I never thought I’d race for Team GB again!

I know my symptoms can return at any time so I am enjoying feeling well and making the most of being able to train again. I also now have the support of CRY and Professor Sharma, so as soon as the symptoms return to the severity I had before, I will have a radiotherapy ablation to cure the problem.

Although the thought of surgery is a bit scary, just knowing that there is a cure if and when I need it, means I don’t have to worry any more. In the meantime I fully intend to make the most of every opportunity I have!

In February 2010 I competed in the British Masters Indoor Athletics Champs and won Gold in both the 60m and 200m for my age group (W35). Now I’m aiming to compete at the World Masters Athletics Champs in the summer – as long as the condition doesn’t get worse I think I could do well! It’s funny, a year ago I didn’t think any of this could be possible and although I know I could get ill again, I know it can be treated so I’m not worrying about it! Just enjoying life and never taking my health for granted any more – just making the most of every day!

Russell Goodman

Living with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and an undiagnosed condition

A healthy way to start the weekend, get up Saturday morning and go for a run. This was something my fiancée Charlotte and I enjoy regularly, sick this one however was very different.

After being out for just over an hour running the streets of Bath on a very sunny September Saturday, Charlotte and I returned to our flat when I suffered suddenly from a cardiac arrest. My heart rate shot up drastically causing me to pass out and completely lose any sign of a pulse.

My life-saving and truly courageous partner performed CPR on me until the ambulance arrived, whereupon I was shocked several times with the on-board defibrillator by paramedics. If it wasn’t for her immediate actions and quick thinking, followed by the quick ambulance response, things would have been very different for me.

I was immediately sent to the intensive care unit of Royal United Hospital in Bath for 3 days being closely monitored. My body temperature was refrigerated to preserve my brain function. After this I was then transferred to the cardiac ward and had no idea how or why I was there.

My fiancée, her family and my own family experienced such extreme uncertainty particularly in those early days, I really can’t imagine the anxiety, worry and stress that was felt.

I was totally unaware and have no memory of anything until at least a week later in hospital – convincing myself I’d been involved in a car accident and concerned at why my chest ached. I was told what happened to me, but it was still very hard to digest in my mind as I had no memory of anything that happened aside from a few minutes before the end of my run. At the time my short-term memory was very poor as I was unable to remember basic things.

Doctors explained to me their thoughts and offered possible answers on what had happened. Initially it was thought I’d caught a virus and was overly exhausted. After 7 weeks being in hospital, examined and scanned several times, I was told I’d have to have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implanted and take daily beta-blockers. At the time I was an electrician, one of the very few jobs not recommended by cardiologists, forcing me to give up and make a new start in my career.

In 2009 I experienced 2 inappropriate shocks from my defibrillator in February, setting me back physically and mentally. Consequently, I was required to have my ICD lead repositioned involving invasive surgery on my 27th birthday.

Today I am still under doctor’s investigation at the Heart Hospital in London, as I have no firm diagnosis for a cardiac illness. Initially, it was suspected that I had arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (hospital discharge-diagnosis). However, following ECHOs, ECGs, blood tests and my defibrillator downloads, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and dilated cardiomyopathy were investigated – but (common-gene) genetic testing has proved cardiomyopathy is not an accurate diagnosis. My immediate family have all been screened and none are showing irregular or concerning signs like me, including my identical twin brother.

In October 2009 I completed the Cardiff Half Marathon, which was a real achievement for me both physically and mentally. Since then I have gone on to complete several 10-mile races and fully intend completing a marathon in the near future. I enjoy keeping fit and will continue to do so, despite my medical history.

Echocardiogram (ECHO)

This test uses ultrasound waves to look at the structure of the heart. It is useful for people whose ECG shows changes that could be caused either by a channelopathy or by uninherited heart disease that has damaged the heart. An echocardiogram can also detect inheritable conditions such as cardiomyopathy and mitral valve prolapse.

The operator puts some clear gel on your chest and then places an ultrasound probe on it. The probe sends ultrasound beams into your body and their reflections are detected and used to generate images of the heart.

You can see different parts of your heart on a screen as the probe is moved around on your chest.

The test is similar to the ultrasound scan that is used to examine a pregnant woman’s unborn baby. It is completely painless.