An echocardiogram (echo) is a test that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to make pictures of your heart. The test is also called echocardiography or diagnostic cardiac ultrasound.
Uses of Echo:
• An echo uses sound waves to create pictures of your heart’s chambers, valves, walls and the blood vessels (aorta, arteries, veins) attached to your heart.
• A probe called a transducer is passed over your chest. The probe produces sound waves that bounce off your heart and “echo” back to the probe. These waves are changed into pictures viewed on a video monitor.
• An echo can’t harm you.
The test also will help your doctor find out if there are:
• Problems with the outer lining of your heart (the pericardium).
• Problems with the large blood vessels that enter and leave the heart.
• Blood clots in the chambers of your heart.
• Abnormal holes between the chambers of the heart
Echocardiography can help detect cardiomyopathies, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and many others. The use of Stress Echocardiography may also help determine whether any chest pain or associated symptoms are related to heart disease.