If you’re suffering from signs of heart problems, your doctor may recommend a painless test called an echocardiogram. Also called an echo, an echocardiogram provides information to your cardiologist about the size and shape of your heart by using sound waves to create images of it. This test shows how well your heart’s chambers and valves function while identifying areas of the heart that don’t contract normally either from poor blood flow or a previous heart attack.

An echo can help your doctor identify:

  • Your heart’s size
  • Heart muscles that are weak and don’t pump blood properly
  • Problems with your heart valves
  • Structural abnormalities of the heart
  • Problems with the aorta (the main artery of the heart)
  • Blood clots or tumors
  • And more

What Happens During an Echocardiogram?

During an echocardiogram, you will lay on your back or left side and your doctor will apply a gel to your chest to help sound waves reach your heart. Using a handheld device called a transducer, echoes from the sound waves are converted into pictures of your heart the doctor can see on a computer screen. Several recordings are made to record images of different locations in the heart, which are then reviewed by your cardiologist.

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