An Echocardiogram (Echo) is an ultrasound of the heart. Ultrasound waves are bounced off the heart using the same technique that is used to look at babies in pregnancy. The echo provides information about the heart structure and function, the size and shape of the heart chambers, valves, and the blood flow. It can also identify areas of the heart muscle that may be damaged.
A doctor will order an echocardiogram for general check-up or if they suspect any heart problems, monitor heart valve disease over time and see how well medical or surgical treatments are working.
It is a non-invasive, safe, and painless medical procedure that produces no radiation and does not typically cause side effects. The sonographer will apply a gel to the chest and move the transducer around the chest to get different images of the heart. During the exam, the sonographer may ask someone to change positions or take or hold a deep breath. They might press the transducer into the chest to get a better picture of the heart.
The report will be sent as a referral to the doctor within 24-48 hours.