An echocardiogram also called an echo test, is a type of ultrasound that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart that can be seen on a video screen. In simple words, it is a scan used to look at the heart and nearby blood vessels. An echocardiogram may be requested by a heart specialist (cardiologist) or any doctor who thinks you might have a problem with your heart.


When an echocardiogram is used:

An echocardiogram can help diagnose and monitor certain heart conditions by checking the structure of the heart and surrounding blood vessels, analyzing how blood flows through them, and assessing the pumping chambers of the heart.

This test is done to:
  • Look for the cause of abnormal heart sounds (murmurs or clicks), an enlarged. heart,unexplained chest pains, shortness of breath, or irregular heartbeats.
  • Check the thickness and movement of the heart wall.
  • Look at the heart valves and check how well they work.
  • See how well an artificial heart valve is working.
  • Measure the size and shape of the heart's chambers.
  • Check the ability of your heart chambers to pump blood (cardiac performance).
  • Detect a disease that affects the heart muscle and the way it pumps.
  • Look for blood clots and tumors inside the heart.
  • To calculate how much blood your heart is pumping during each heartbeat. You might have a low ejection fraction if you have heart failure.


An echocardiogram can help detect:

1) Damage from a heart attack:-  where the supply of blood to the heart was suddenly blocked

2) Heart failure:- where the heart fails to pump enough blood around the body at the right pressure

3) Congenital heart disease:- birth defects that affect the normal workings of the heart

4) Problems with the heart valves:- problems affecting the valsves that control the flow of blood within the heart

5) Cardiomyopathy:- where the heart walls become thickened or enlarged

6) Endocarditis:- an infection of the heart valves and the best treatment for the condition

Are there any risks or side effects?
A standard echocardiogram is a simple, painless and safe procedure. There are no side effects from the scan, although the lubricating gel may feel cold and you may experience some minor discomfort when the electrodes are removed from your skin at the end of the test. No radiation is used during an echocardiogram therefore no serious side effects are caused other than drowsiness in case a sedative is given. A slight itchiness or rash may be caused due to the gel used during procedure.