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Echocardiography (ECHO)

Also known as Transthoracic Echocardiography, it is a test that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to make pictures of your heart. A probe called a transducer is passed over your chest. The probe produces sound waves that bounce off your heart and “echo” back to the probe. These waves are changed into pictures viewed on a video monitor.

It can scan your heart’s chambers, valves, walls and the blood vessels (aorta, arteries, veins) attached to your heart. It can also assess the direction and velocity of the blood flow with the assistance of Doppler in this ultrasound examination.


Echocardiography is an important test allowing your doctor to assess the following:

  • The size and shape of your heart, and the size, thickness and movement of your heart’s walls.
  • How your heart moves.
  • Your heart’s pumping strength.
  • If your 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 abnormal hole between the chambers of your heart.
  • If there is a tumor or infectious growth around your heart valves or blood clots in your heart’s chambers or fluid in the sac surrounding your heart.