An echocardiogram is usually also referred to as a transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) or ultrasound of the heart. An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. During the procedure, sound waves create a "live" picture of the heart beating (similar ultrasounds pregnant woman have to see their developing baby).

An echocardiogram is used to show a detailed moving picture of the heart. It is used to evaluate the functioning of the heart valves and chambers, assess heart pumping, and check for heart murmurs. An echocardiogram is commonly used to check for heart disease and evaluate the heart functioning of people that have had heart attacks.

What you can expect

You will disrobe from the waist up for the procedure. Conducting gel will be placed on your chest. A sonographer will place a transducer device on your chest. The device transmits sound waves to a monitor that produces moving pictures of your heart. In some cases, dye may be delivered through an IV to provide more contrast in the pictures. Your doctor will review the results with you.

Preparation for exam

  • There is no preparation for this exam