Usually a bubble echo is looking for an opening between the top 2 chambers in the heart. During a regular echo, which is totally noninvasive, they inject some saline with a small amount of air into an IV. That is the only invasive part of the test. They then look at the screen and see where the bubbles go. In a negative study, they all go over to the left side of the heart. In a positive study, some don't go to the left side, indicating a possible connection or small hole in the heart. It is totally painless; I have had 2 done.
I just had this done yesterday. I was under the impression that the bubbles moving to the left side was a bad thing. The tech said- when you cough we shouldn't see the bubbles moving, unless there is a hole. If there is a hole you will see them flood to the left side- (we did).
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