Q&A with Sandy Taylor

Echocardiography Lab Supervisor, Comox Valley Hospital

What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is a non-invasive ultrasound imaging test used to examine the heart to check hearts rhythm and examine the movement of blood throughout the heart. It provides a wealth of information such as the size and shape of the heart, pumping capacity, location and extent of tissue damage and assessment of valves. This special ultrasound machine can also be used to assess the impact of medicines, and cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, on the heart.

Echocardiogram images enable cardiologists to accurately assess and diagnose the best path of patient care.

How many people require this testing at Comox Valley Hospital?

Each week, 140 patients require echocardiograms – more than 6,500 annually. This is both for patients who are in hospital receiving acute care, and members of our community needing cardiac images to inform treatment plans. The echocardiogram is one of the most widely used diagnostic imaging modalities in cardiology at our hospital.

The Comox Valley Hospital is also the only site that provides echocardiograms to children across the North Island. On average, 2-3 children every week come to our hospital for this testing.

Why is echocardiograph equipment a priority for the Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation?

One of the three echocardiogram machines at Comox Valley Hospital was transferred when we relocated from the old St. Joseph’s Hospital. It has reached the end of its lifespan with frequent downtime due to maintenance and repairs. Some of the replacement parts are a challenge to locate, thus prolonging repairs. When this equipment is unavailable, people wait longer for the tests they need.

This advanced equipment offers features that provide superior cardiac imaging. These portable machines can be used anywhere in the hospital to provide rapid and precise care. This versatility is especially important for when ER and ICU patients can not be safely transported to the Heart & Lung Department.

The enhanced image quality for cardiologists helps to determine the best possible care, which we want for all our loved ones.