In addition to this standard test, there are specialized echocardiograms:
Contrast echocardiogram—A solution is injected into the vein and can be seen in the heart.
Stress echocardiogram—This records the heart's activity during a
cardiac stress test<![CDATA]>.
<![CDATA]>Doppler ultrasound<![CDATA]>—This helps your doctor assess blood flow.
<![CDATA]>Transesophageal echocardiogram<![CDATA]>—To provide clear images of the heart, the ultrasound device is put down your throat. Your doctor may need to use this view depending on what part of the heart needs to be looked at.
Also, if you have the following conditions, you may need this test, rather than the standard echocardiogram:
A gel is put on your chest. This gel helps the sound waves travel. The technician presses a small, hand-held device (called a transducer) against your skin. The transducer sends sound waves toward your heart. The sound waves are then reflected back to the device. The waves are converted into electrical impulses. These impulses become an image on the screen.
The technician can capture a still image, or videotape moving images. To get clearer and more complete images, the technician may move the transducer to different areas of your chest. You may be asked to change positions and slowly inhale, exhale, or hold your breath.
The gel is wiped from your chest.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
The images are analyzed by a specialist. Based on the findings, your doctor will recommend treatment or further testing.
Call Your Doctor
After the test, call your doctor if you have worsening heart-related symptoms.
The most common heart ultrasound: transthoracic echocardiogram. American Society of Echocardiography website. Available at:
http://www.seemyheart.org/tte.php. Updated April 2007.
Accessed July 28, 2008.
Radiological Society of North America website. Available at:
http://www.rsna.org/. Accessed July 28, 2008.
Sanderson JE, Chan WW. Transoesophageal echocardiography.
Postgrad Med J. 1997;73:137-140.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a