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What is an echocardiogram?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

An echocardiogram is a test that checks the heart by using sound waves to produce a graphic outline of your heart’s movement. A stress echocardiogram incorporates an echocardiogram to determine how the heart muscle responds to the stress of exercise. The test begins by taking a resting echocardiogram. The second part of the test moves you from the exam table to the treadmill.

Because an EKG cannot reliably measure the heart’s pumping ability, ultrasound tests called “echocardiograms” are used. These ultrasound images show the size and shape as well as the function and efficiency of the heart muscle. This painless procedure is performed by highly trained technologists and interpreted by our board certified cardiologists.

An echocardiogram is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to check your heart. The sound waves bounce (or "echo") off structures in your heart, and the echoes are shown as images on a monitor.

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart.

An echocardiogram is a noninvasive test that creates a video of your heart as it beats. The echo shows the size and shape of your heart chambers and provides information on how well the chambers and valves are functioning. The echo can also detect evidence of any previous heart damage. The standard echo is also called a TTE. Another type of echo is the TEE, which is more invasive and used if the TTE is not getting a clear picture of the heart.

An echocardiogram (Echo) is an external test of the heart that uses high-frequency sound waves called ultrasound to look at the heart’s size, shape, and movement. The test shows the heart’s four chambers, its valves and walls, the blood vessels entering and leaving the heart, and the sac that surrounds the heart. This is a common diagnostic test for atrial fibrillation.

Dr. Bimal R. Shah, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

An echocardiogram is a diagnostic test for abnormalities of the heart. In this examination, your doctor uses sound waves to create an image of your heart. By looking at the image of your heart, your doctor can see if it is enlarged due to a disease or if it is beating abnormally.

An echocardiogram is a diagnostic test for cardiomyopathy. In this examine, your doctor uses sound waves to create an image of your heart. By looking at the image of your heart, your doctor can see if it is enlarged due to cardiomyopathy or if it is beating abnormally.

An echocardiogram is a noninvasive (the skin is not pierced) procedure used to assess the heart's function and structures. During the procedure, a transducer (like a microphone) sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer is placed on the chest at certain locations and angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the heart tissues, where the waves echo off of the heart structures. The transducer picks up the reflected waves and sends them to a computer. The computer interprets the echoes into an image of the heart walls and valves.

Dr. Steven C. Port, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

An echocardiogram uses ultrasound to provide images of the heart’s interior structures. It allows the heart’s pumping strength, muscle thickness and size of the chambers to be measured. All the heart’s valves may be checked to see if they are functioning properly. A complete echocardiogram provides a wealth of information about the structure and function of the heart. It is the most commonly used heart test after the electrocardiogram, which detects low-voltage electrical activity of the heart through electrodes on the chest.

An echocardiogram is a safe, non-invasive diagnostic test that uses high-frequency sound waves (not detectable by the human ear) to produce images of the heart and its vessels. During an echocardiogram, a modified microphone called a transducer directs sound waves at the heart's tissues. These sound waves bounce off the tissue, and are translated into a moving image on a computer screen.

Dr. Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Practitioner

An echocardiogram uses sound waves to create a moving picture of your heart. An echocardiogram evaluates the presence of blood clots in the heart chambers and can assess the communication between the right and left sides of your heart. An echocardiogram may be done to check for heart function and heart wall thickness.

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound study of the heart. It is very similar to the test women have during pregnancy to check on the health and development of the baby.

Like all ultrasound tests, an echocardiogram uses harmless sound waves to create detailed images of organs, tissues and blood flow inside the body. During an echocardiogram a probe, or transducer, is moved over the chest and abdomen, directing the high-frequency sound waves toward the heart. The transducer also receives the “echo” waves that bounce back off of the heart and its internal structures, including the valves between the upper and lower chambers, chamber walls and blood vessels.

The transducer records the time it took for a sound wave to bounce back as well as tiny changes in its pitch and direction. A computer instantly analyzes this information and creates images of the beating heart on a monitor in real time.

Dr. Randolph P. Martin, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

An echocardiogram is a helpful ultrasound test that bounces sound waves off of your heart to look at the structure, size, and activity of your heart. Watch this video to learn more from Dr. Randy P. Martin about what an echocardiogram does.

Linda Martinez
Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist

An echocardiogram is a sonogram of the heart.  In other words, sound waves can be “bounced” off the chest by a transducer and an image of the heart is then displayed on a screen. The technician that performs the test requires special training and education in heart anatomy. 

The echocardiogram is read by a cardiologist and provides very important information about the functioning of the heart. For example, an accurate estimation of the heart’s structure (including heart valves), function and flow of blood through the heart can be obtained. In a person with heart failure, the doctor can also get an idea of the approximate size of the heart and the degree of dysfunction.

How efficiently the left ventricle (the bottom left chamber of the heart) pumps blood can be determined by an echocardiogram and is called the ejection fraction. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.