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Cardiothoracic Services

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We provide an outpatient Echocardiogram service at both the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and Horton General Hospital in Banbury.

An inpatient Echocardiogram service is also provided for these two sites, as well as for inpatients at the Churchill Hospital and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford.


An Echocardiogram or 'Echo' uses ultrasound to produces images of the heart on a screen. It is a painless test with no side effects.

The images recorded provide information about the size of your heart and how well it pumps, and whether you heart valves are working properly.

The Echocardiogram takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Afterwards, the Sonographer will make measurements using the images and write a report which we will send to your doctor - we do not give you your results.

We perform Echocardiograms according to guidelines issued by the British Society of Echcoardiography.

For more detailed information about Echocardiograms please visit the British Society of Echocardiography website:

Transthoracic echocardiography (pdf)

Contrast Echo

During a Contrast Echo, we inject a contrast agent through a cannula in your arm to improve the picture quality of the Echocardiogram, and better assess the pumping function of your heart.

Bubble Contrast Echo

During a Bubble Contrast Echo we inject an agitated saline contrast agent through a cannula in your arm to help us see if you have a 'hole in the heart'.

Dobutamine or Exercise Stress Echo

During a Dobutamine Stress Echo (DSE) we give you medication through a cannula in your arm to make your heart beat faster and harder while we take Echo images of it.

During an Exercise Stress Echo we ask you to pedal an exercise bike while we take the images.

This provides us with information on how your heart copes when it is made to work harder, and is useful to diagnose angina and to provide information on the severity of a valve problem.

A Stress Echo takes about 45 minutes.

For more information please visit the British Society of Echocardiography website:

Find us and contact us

John Radcliffe Hospital

Level 2 Outpatients, Oxford Heart Centre
Tel: 01865 234366

Horton General Hospital

Tel: 01295 229555

Cardiac Physiology - Find us and contact us