(Echo; Heart Ultrasound; Ultrasound of the Heart)
by Editorial Staff and Contributors
An echocardiogram is an image test of the heart. It can show the size, shape, and motion of the heart. The test can also show how blood flows through the heart and blood vessels.
There are different types of echocardiograms such as:
Reasons for Test
An echocardiogram may be used to:
There are no major problems with this test. Types of echocardioram, like stress, may have specific risk.
What to Expect
Prior to Test
Your doctor may review previous tests. It will help decide what type of test is best.
Description of Test
A gel is put on your chest. A small, hand-held device is pressed and moved against your skin. You will not feel anything except the device on your skin. Images of the heart will appear on a screen in the room. The doctor may move the device around. It will help to get a better view of different areas. You may be asked to change positions, and slowly breathe in or out, or hold your breath.
The gel is wiped from your chest. If you are well, you can go home.
How Long Will It Take?
30 to 60 minutes
Will It Hurt?
Your doctor will talk to you about the results.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you have worsening heart symptoms.
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Heart Association
American Society of Echocardiography
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Echocardiogram (echo). American Heart Association website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/diagnosing-a-heart-attack/echocardiogram-echo. Accessed March 26, 2019.
Echocardiography. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/echocardiography. Accessed March 26, 2019.
General ultrasound. Radiology Info—Radiologic Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?PG=genus. Updated March 9, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.
Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated January 8, 2017. Accessed March 26, 2019.
Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 3/26/2019
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.