An echocardiogram (ECHO) uses sound waves to produce images of your heart.

What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram (ECHO) uses sound waves to create a picture of your heart. The recorded waves show the shape, texture and movement of your heart valves, as well as the size of your heart chambers and how well they are working.

An ECHO may be done to assess a variety of heart conditions, such as heart murmurs, damage to heart muscle in those who have had a heart attack, and infections in the heart. It may also be recommended if you are experiencing abnormal heart sounds, shortness of breath, palpitations, angina (chest pain) or have a history of stroke. It is very useful in diagnosing heart valve problems.

What can I expect during an echocardiogram?

A gel is placed on your chest to help transmit the sound waves and a transducer (a unit that directs sound waves) is moved over your chest. This test involves no pain or discomfort. A typical test takes about 15 to 45 minutes.

How can I prepare for an echocardiogram?

There is no specific preparation required for an echocardiogram. You can eat and drink as usual prior to the test. Take your usual medications unless otherwise directed by your doctor.


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