What is an Echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram or echo is a test that makes images of the heart with sound waves similar to radar. The test is harmless and is not painful. A specially trained ultrasound technician performs the test. Sound waves are sent out from a transducer and are bounced off the heart. These sound waves are picked up by the transducer and are then made into pictures of the heart.

Echo Test Results

These pictures of your heart are reviewed by a Valley Heart cardiologist who can identify any problems with the heart muscle or valves. The test usually takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. A written report is sent to your doctor. Your doctor may then recommend more tests or suggest therapy based on the results of this echo test.


Q: What is the purpose of an echo test?
A: To identify possible problems with the heart.

Q: How long does this procedure take?
A: Approximately 30 minutes.

Q: Is having an echocardiogram dangerous or painful?
A: No.

Q: Should I have an echo test performed if I am feeling well?
A: Yes. Problems of the heart may exist without symptoms.

Q: Will I be seeing a doctor?
A: Performing the test does not require the presence of a doctor. However, a doctor will be available if necessary.

Q: How will I find out the results?
A: The doctor who ordered the test is responsible for discussing the results of the echo with you.

Getting Ready for Your Echo Test

  • Special preparations are not necessary.
  • Take ALL your usual medications.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that can be removed easily.

During Your Echo Test

  • Special pads will be placed on your chest.
  • You will be asked to lie in different positions on an exam table. A special gel will be used with a transducer and placed on multiple spots on your chest.