An echocardiogram (ultrasound test of the heart) is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to create a real-time image of the heart. The high frequency sound waves use no radiation and provide detailed pictures of the valves and chambers. This aids the physician in determining appropriate treatment.
Echocardiograms produce images that show:
- Heart defects
- Valve problems
- Damage to heart muscle
- Heart size
- Heart pumping efficiency
A physician may recommend an echocardiogram if he or she suspects a problem involving the patient's valves, chambers or pumping strength.