How can an echo create a picture?
When the “echo” is an echocardiogram, a test that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create images of your heart. The test is also called echocardiography or diagnostic cardiac ultrasound.
This test is painless and non invasive. It can help 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.
- The test also will help your doctor find out if there are:
- Problems with the outer lining of your heart (the pericardium).
- Problems with the large blood vessels that enter and leave the heart.
- Blood clots in the chambers of your heart.
- Abnormal holes between the chambers of the heart.
What happens during an echocardiogram?
- You will lie comfortably on a table in a darkened room
- A technician (sonographer) spreads gel on your chest and then presses a device known as a transducer firmly against your skin, aiming an ultrasound beam through your chest to your heart.
- The transducer records the sound wave echoes your heart produces.
- During this test, sound waves are sent into the chest and bounce (echo) from the heart's walls and valves.
- The recorded sound waves show the shape, texture and movement of the valves and muscle walls of the heart.
- They also show the size of the heart chambers and how well they're working.
- A computer converts the echoes into moving images on a monitor.
How do I prepare for the echo?
There is no special preparation. Please go ahead and eat and drink as usual.
The technician will provide test results to your health care provider.
Hours/How to Reach Us
Echocardiogram testing is offered five days per week and scheduled through Central Scheduling by calling (309) 852-7550.