What Is It?
Echocardiography is a painless test that uses sound waves to create images of your heart. It provides your doctor with information about the size and shape of your heart and how well your heart’s chambers and valves are working.
- Echocardiography is a painless test that uses sound waves to create images of your heart.
- This test provides your doctor with information about the size and shape of your heart and how well your heart's chambers and valves are working. In addition, a type of echocardiography called Dopple ultrasound shows how well blood flows through the chambers and valves of your heart.
- Your doctor may recommend echocardiography if you're suffering from signs and symptoms that heart problems could cause. The test can be used to confirm a diagnosis, determine the status of an existing problem, or help guide treatment.
- There are different types of echocardiography. Transthoracic and stress echocardiographies are standard types of the test. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is used if the standard tests don't produce clear results.
- Echocardiography takes place in a doctor's office or hospital. The test usually takes up to 1 hour. A standard echocardiography doesn't require any special preparations or follow up. If you're having a TEE, you usually shouldn't eat or drink for 8 hours prior to the test.
- During a standard echocardiography, the doctor or sonographer will move a wand-like device called a transducer around on your chest to get images of your heart. During a TEE, the transducer will be put down your throat to get a better view of your heart.
- A cardiologist will analyze the results from your echocardiography.
- You usually can go back to your normal activities immediately after having an echocardiography.
- There are no risks associated with transthoracic or fetal echocardiography. If you have TEE, there are some risks associated with the medicine given to help you relax. On rare occasions, the tube used in TEE can cause minor throat injury. The risks for stress echocardiography are related to the exercise or medicine used to raise your heart rate. Serious complications from a stress echocardiography are rare.