What is an Echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is a non-invasive procedure that utilizes sound waves to create images of your heart. It allows doctors to assess the structure and function of your heart. This includes the blood flow through the heart valves, chambers, and surrounding tissues.

During the test, a small hand-held device called a transducer is placed on the chest. The device emits sound waves that bounce off the heart’s structures. This creates a moving picture of the heart on a monitor. This test is also called a Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE) or Doppler echocardiogram.

When is an echocardiogram performed?

Echocardiograms are helpful in diagnosing various heart conditions, such as heart valve diseases, heart failure, and congenital heart defects. Echocardiograms can be used to:

  • Evaluate how well the heart is pumping blood. They can also be used to determine how effectively the heart valves are opening and closing.
  • Detect abnormalities such as blood clots, tumors, or fluid around the heart.
  • Monitor the progression of heart conditions over time.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of heart disease treatment.
  • Guide during procedures such as heart valve surgery or pacemaker placement.

What to Expect During an Echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is a generally painless outpatient procedure that typically takes about 30 to 60 minutes. You may feel slight pressure from the transducer on your chest, but it should not be uncomfortable.


You may be asked to change into a hospital gown. You may also need to remove jewelry or other objects that could interfere with the ultrasound images on your chest.

Before the test, your doctor will discuss the procedure with you and answer any questions you may have.


You will lie on a table or bed, and a technician (sonographer) will apply a gel to your chest. The gel helps transmit sound waves and improve the quality of the images. The technician will then press a device called a transducer against your chest. The transducer emits sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. You may be asked to change positions during the test to get different views of your heart.

After the test:

Once the test is complete, the technician will wipe off the gel from your chest.

A cardiologist will interpret the images from your echocardiogram. Your doctor will discuss the results with you and recommend any necessary follow-up steps.

It is important to take a proactive approach to preventing severe complications from heart disease by getting an echocardiogram. Please consult your doctor if you have any questions.

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as personal medical advice or answer personal medical questions. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem. Please consult your health care provider if you have questions about your health or suspect having a health problem or disease.

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