Echocardiogram

The echocardiogram, often referred to in the medical community as a cardiac ECHO or simply an ECHO, is a sonogram of the heart. Also known as a cardiac ultrasound, it uses standard ultrasound techniques to image two-dimensional slices of the heart. It is used to evaluate the mechanical function of the heart (where an EKG is used to evaluate the electrical activity of the heart).

What happens during the exam?
The patient lies on a table with the abdominal area exposed. The sonographer (technologist who performs the exam) will put a warm water-based gel on the skin surface. The gel helps to transmit the sound waves by excluding air. An instrument called a transducer, which is about the size of a microphone, will be moved over the skin surface by the sonographer.

How do I prepare for this test?
No preparation is needed.

How long will it take?
About twenty minutes.

Will it hurt?
No.

How will I learn the results?
You may call your doctor to discuss the results.