What is an echocardiogram?
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.
Why do people need an echo test?
Your doctor may use an echo test to look at your heart’s structure and check how well your heart functions. The test helps your doctor find out:
The size and shape of your heart, and the size, thickness and movement of your heart’s walls.
How your heart moves.
The heart’s pumping strength.
If the heart valves are working correctly.
If blood is leaking backwards through your heart valves (regurgitation).
If the heart valves are too narrow (stenosis).
If there is a tumor or infectious growth around your heart valves.
What are the risks?
An echo can’t harm you.
An echo doesn’t hurt and has no side effects.