Echocardiography is a diagnostic test that uses ultrasound waves to create an image of the heart muscle, the heart valves and other cardiac structures. It is used to evaluate their size, shape, functionality or pathologies. This test may show such abnormalities as stiff (stenotic) or leaking (regurgitant) heart valves, weakened or damaged heart muscle, or heart defects that may have been present from birth. It may be used in the emergency assessment of cardiac function, detection of cardiac infections or to monitor the the health of heart structures.
At the Cooper Heart Institute, we combine the expertise and experience of our physicians with advanced equipment and software to offer a full range of cardiac studies, including echocardiography.
What to expect
A specially trained technician uses a gel to slide a microphone-like device (transducer) over the chest area. This provides a live, moving picture of the heart. The technician will view these images on a monitor and will take various pictures and record sounds at several different locations. During recording, a person may be asked to change position and to hold their breath. This helps in obtaining higher quality pictures and multiple views of the same heart structures.