Medical tests yield proper results when conducted in proper condition. To create a proper condition, a person undergoing a test must refrain from certain activities. The same is true for doing an echocardiogram.
In their pursuit of creating the best condition, many people ask, “Can I drink coffee before echocardiogram?”
No, it’s best not to consume caffeinated products before an echocardiogram. This includes coffee. Coffee and other caffeinated products interfere with some types of echocardiogram tests; consequently, the results do not come out accurately.
Keep reading this article to learn more about how coffee affects echocardiograms. By the end of this article, you will also know about other best practices to follow before and after the test.
What is an Echocardiogram?
The echocardiogram is a test used to check the condition of the heart.
In an echocardiogram, sound waves are sent. These sound waves bounce off various internal parts of the chest. A device then picks up these echos. By doing so, the echos provide a moving image of the inside of the chest – the heart and the surrounding blood vessels.
This type of ultrasound scan can help diagnose various diseases related to the heart. For example, ultrasound is often used when the doctor suspects anything is wrong with the pumping capability of the heart, unwanted constraints, or simply to analyze blood flow.
Types of Echocardiogram
There are 5 primary types of echocardiograms. Each test has its unique methods, uses, and preparation. The major types of echocardiograms are:
Transthoracic Echocardiogram refers to the traditional echocardiogram, where ultrasounds are projected via a transducer device. No physical instrument is inserted into the body to run this test.
The second type of echocardiogram is called Transesophageal Echocardiogram. When this test is used the transducer is inserted inside the throat. This makes the test a bit uncomfortable. However, as this test is done closer to the heart, the result shows a clearer picture.
These tests show the condition of our heart when it is in a resting stage. However, hearts work at different rates all day long. The heart must work extra hard to pump blood when we work out or run. There are two types of echocardiograms to check whether the heart works fine under stress.
The first one is Stress Echo. In stress echo, the patient is usually asked to run on a treadmill for some time – usually until they become unable to do so. The other one is where the patient, instead of working out, takes a drug called dobutamine which makes the heart work harder. The purpose of this heart is to see if everything works fine even when the heart is under pressure.
Last but not the least, Intravascular Ultrasound uses small incisions in the groin area to insert a catheter and a wire that can transmit ultrasound. This procedure is a bit more complex than the others, and as a result, the patient often needs to stay in the hospital overnight.
Can I Drink Coffee Before Echocardiogram?
As mentioned before, it’s best not to consume any caffeinated products before an echocardiogram. In fact, for certain types of echocardiograms, you should wait a full day after drinking coffee to get an echocardiogram.
Because coffee has caffeine in it. So how does caffeine affect echocardiogram? Consuming caffeine can increase blood pressure. It is also responsible for increasing heart rate. This is because caffeine triggers the emission of adrenaline. This puts your body in somewhat of an alert mode.
This property of coffee is undoubtedly a gift from God for many of us early in the morning or when we have to pull an all-nighter. However, due to increased heart rate (and sometimes irregular heart rate), the test results from an echocardiogram will not represent the real condition.
However, not all types of echocardiograms are affected by caffeine consumption. Caffeine’s effects are most vividly noticeable in the Transesophageal Echocardiogram and Stress Echo. However, other tests also benefit you if no caffeine is in your bloodstream.
That is why you should not drink coffee for at least 24 hours before getting the test done.
Foods to Avoid Before An Echocardiogram
Just like caffeine, there are some other foods that people should worry about before getting an echocardiogram. However, this restriction varies with what sort of echocardiogram the doctor has asked for.
In the case of a Transthoracic Echocardiogram, you do not need to abstain from any food or drinks. You can eat everything that you would normally eat.
However, there are some dietary restrictions to follow if you get a Transesophageal Echocardiogram. Do not drink or eat anything for at least 4 hours preceding the test. This is because big meals before this echo might lead to vomiting. You may drink only water when needed. Take special care in not consuming anything that has caffeine in it.
The same is true for stress echo. You should also take special care not to eat anything for 4 hours before the test except for water. In the case of caffeinated products like coffee, tea, and chocolate – it’s best to avoid them for a whole day.
Other Dos and Don’ts
Aside from keeping an eye on what you eat, there are some other issues to consider. First, let’s look at what actions are not good for the test – what should you not do before an echocardiogram?
- You should refrain from smoking on the day of the test. Nicotine in the cigarette might interfere with the test result just as caffeine does.
- For the Transesophageal Echocardiogram and Stress Echo, avoid every caffeinated product. This means you have to be careful about the medications you take. Some medicines contain caffeine. Do not consume these if possible. So, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor beforehand if you are under any medication.
Aside from these, it’s best to wear a loose-fitting dress when you are going to get tested. Plus, if you are required to do a stress echo, carry a running shoe with you.
There are also some after-test best practices. In Transesophageal Echocardiogram and Intravascular Ultrasound, sedation is used. So, don’t rush into your busy life just after the test. Take it slow until the sedation wears off. Plus, only drive home after you get these tests.
On the other hand, a normal echocardiogram does not require any such after-test care. You can return to your normal life and return to your tasks immediately after the test.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most common questions people have about echocardiograms.
Is Echocardiogram Painful?
In general, no. Most of the echocardiograms you will get will not be painful at all. However, in the case of a Transesophageal echocardiogram, as a tube is inserted inside the throat, it might create an uncomfortable sensation. Intravascular ultrasound can also create discomfort and pain as a catheter is inserted.
Can I Drink Tea Before Echocardiogram?
No, tea is one of the forbidden things before an echocardiogram. This is because tea also contains caffeine. So, just like coffee, consuming tea can increase blood pressure and heartbeat. As a result, tea can also be detrimental to a successful test.
How Long Does It Take to Do an Echocardiogram?
The test itself is not a very lengthy process.
It varies depending on the type of echocardiogram being used. But most tests are done within one to one and a half hours. When the test is done through intravascular echocardiography, the patient might have to stay at the hospital overnight to ensure that the groin area fully recovers.
However, the main time is spent preparing a report with the information provided by the imaging. Because a doctor needs to check the imaging, days physically and even weeks might pass before the report arrives.
We hope this answers the question, “Can I drink coffee before echocardiogram?” In short, to get the best result, avoid consuming anything that has caffeine in it.
Getting accurate results in echocardiograms is very important. Otherwise, critical diseases might get undiagnosed, and your treatments will get delayed. So follow these best practices to ensure that nothing interferes with the echocardiogram and decreases your chances of getting a life-saving diagnosis.