An echocardiogram (echo)—a type of ultrasound—uses sound waves to generate moving images of the different parts of your heart.
Expert Cone Health Medical Group cardiologists view the pictures of your heart to find out if an abnormality may be present in the heart muscle or heart valves.
Types of Echocardiograms
Your CHMG heart doctor may choose one of several types of echocardiogram to assess your heart condition.
- Doppler echocardiogram – Measures blood flow (direction and speed) through the heart chambers, heart valves and blood vessels
- Stress echocardiogram – Evaluates blood flow to your heart with images taken before and after either a period of exercise or the injection of a medicine that makes your heart beat harder and faster; assesses the presence of coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) – Passes the transducer down the esophagus to obtain the clearest possible images of the heart; includes a sedative and local anesthetic at the throat for your comfort
- Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) – Moves the transducer to different locations on the outside of your chest or abdominal wall for different views of the heart; the most commonly used form of echo
An echo also may be part of a stress test with an electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG) to help your doctor learn more about your heart.
What to Expect
Echocardiograms are painless procedures that take between 30 and 60 minutes. After applying a gel to the chest, the sonographer moves a wand-like device called a transducer across the area to capture images of the internal structures of the heart. After the test, the gel is wiped away.