An echocardiogram is a safe and effective test that lets your doctor view your heart, its valves and chambers. An echocardiogram helps in the diagnosis and monitoring of heart disease.
What is echocardiography?
Echocardiography, also known as an echo test or heart ultrasound, is a painless, non-invasive, procedure that uses sound waves to create moving pictures of your heart. The pictures show the size and shape of your heart and how well your heart's chambers and valves are working.
Echocardiography also pinpoints areas of heart muscle that aren't contracting well because of poor blood flow or injury from a previous heart attack. It can also detect possible blood clots inside the heart, fluid buildup in the pericardium (the sac around the heart), and problems with the aorta.
Your doctor may recommend echocardiography if you have signs or symptoms of heart problems. For example, shortness of breath and swelling in the legs are possible signs of heart failure.