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Echocardiography, also known as an echo test or heart ultrasound, is a test that uses sound waves to acquire images of the heart and its surrounding structures. It does not involve radiation and can be repeatedly performed even on small babies. A typical scan takes around 20 minutes up to an hour to perform. Patients do not have to be warded for this procedure and it is pain-free.
Uncooperative babies or small children sometimes require an oral medication sedation to help them sleep so a proper echo test can be performed.

Transoesophageal echocardiography (TEE)
Like conventional echocardiography, TEE uses sound waves to acquire images of the heart. However, unlike normal echocardiography, it is performed from the back of the heart. The probe (the device that is used for scanning) is passed through the throat into the oesophagus (food passage) which sits right at the back of the heart. This scan gives us a different perspective of the heart and in certain instances, gives images superior to those obtained from a conventional echocardiography.
This modality is often used to aid surgeries and transcatheter procedures to ensure that these procedures are performed safely and successfully. As this procedure is not as comfortable as conventional echocardiography, light sedation or general anaesthetic is usually given.

Congenital Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Scans (CMR)
One of the ways to study the heart is via the cardiac magnetic resonance scans or better known as the CMR scan. It involves taking pictures of the heart structure while the heart is beating and studying how the blood flows in the heart by using a large magnet machine. This allows us to study the structural form e.g. to look for narrowing or dilatation of heart structures; as well as how the blood flows through the narrowed or dilated structures. The test takes a longer time than CT and usually last for an hour. There is no radiation involved in this CMR.

Paediatric Cardiac CT Scan and CT Angiography (CT Scan)
Computed tomographic angiography uses CT scanner to obtain specific diagnostic information that cannot be provided by or is complementary to other imaging technologies such as echocardiogram or cardiac catheterisation e.g abnormal blood vessel in the lung.

A contrast (dye) will be injected via a peripheral vein on your hand or arm. The scan will delineate the structures inside and outside the heart.

The procedure will take about 10 – 30 minutes. If your child is anxious and not able to follow instruction, medication to sedate your child is given orally or via injection. This helps your child sleep during the procedure.

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