What is an echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound that uses sound waves to generate pictures of the heart (much like an ultrasound of a pregnant woman’s belly produces pictures of an unborn baby). It is used to detect many cardiac problems including the strength of the heart, size of the heart, and problems with heart valves. It is a painless procedure that involves no exposure to radiation.

Who should have an echocardiogram?

Many patients who feel symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain may receive a recommendation to receive an echocardiogram. An echocardiogram is an excellent test for looking for valvular heart disease such as aortic stenosis or mitral regurgitation.