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This test uses sound waves to create an image of the heart. The technique is called echocardiography. The resulting image is called the echocardiogram.

An echocardiogram helps a doctor evaluate a person's heart's valves and chambers. The sound waves are reflected differently by each part of the heart, resulting in a complex series of echoes which can be detected & displayed visually.

It is done to detect structural, & some functional, abnormalities of the heart wall, heart valves, & the heart's large blood vessels. Blood flow across valves is also measured.

It is a harmless & pain free procedure. For this test, the doctor or technician places a device called a transducer on the chest and aims it at the heart. The transducer sends out and receives sound waves that bounce off the heart. A computer takes these returning sound waves, or echoes, and turns them into a picture of the heart.

A normal echocardiogram displays normal heart chambers and valves. It also shows normal heart movement.

An abnormal echocardiogram may indicate -

  • heart valve disease

  • cardiomyopathy, or a weakening of the heart muscle

  • fluid in the sac around the heart

  • blood clots in the heart

  • other heart abnormalities




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