Echocardiography, also known as an echo test, is a non-invasive diagnostic test that uses sound waves to produce images of the heart. The sound waves, also known as ultrasound waves, bounce off the heart and produce a moving image that shows the structure and function of the heart.
During an echocardiogram, a technician or a doctor applies a gel to the patient's chest and places a small device called a transducer on the skin. The transducer sends and receives sound waves, which create an image of the heart on a computer screen.
Echocardiography can be used to diagnose a range of heart conditions, including heart valve problems, congenital heart defects, heart failure, and pericardial disease. It can also be used to evaluate the size and function of the heart, including the thickness of the heart walls, the movement of the heart muscles, and the amount of blood pumped with each heartbeat.
Echocardiography is a safe and painless procedure that does not involve any radiation. It is commonly used in routine cardiac evaluations, and can be repeated periodically to monitor changes in a patient's heart function over time.