This is a painless and very useful test on the heart. Echocardiography uses ultrasound (sound waves) to create a picture of your heart.
The test is performed for a variety of reasons, such as:
- to evaluate heart sounds and heart size
- to assess how well the heart and valves are working.
Cardiac technicians perform the test in a laboratory, and the patient is awake. You can eat and drink before most echocardiograms.
The test normally takes about 30 minutes.
The technician places gel on your chest and moves a tool, similar to a hand-held microphone, to different places on your chest. The images of your heart are shown on a screen next to you, and the technician records them on a video as well as on paper.
This information was first published in You and Your Heart - an education booklet for patients, families and friends. © 2006 Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service