An echocardiogram uses sound waves to produce live images of your heart. These images may help your doctor spot blood clots, fluid in the sac around your heart, problems with the aorta or the valves within your heart, and confirming proper blood flow. 

There are several types of echocardiograms. The most common type is a transthoracic echocardiogram, where the technician places the probe on your chest and directs the soundwaves toward your heart. Other echocardiograms may be ordered based on the type of condition to be observed. 

Preparation: Typically fasting. Patients should not eat or drink for 6-8 hours before the exam. If a stress test is ordered, be sure to wear clothes and shoes that are comfortable to exercise in. 

Typical Procedure Time: 45 Minutes

Echocardiograms are most typically used when the following indications are present:

  • Heart Disease
  • Problems with Valves/Chambers of Heart
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Chest Pain