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Echocardiogram (Echo)

An echocardiogram (echo) is a type of ultrasound examination that uses high-pitched sound waves sent through a device called a transducer to produce an image of the heart and sometimes the aorta.

An echocardiogram measures how well the heart is working by evaluating blood flow, heart valves, and heart size, thickness, shape, and muscle movement.

The different types of echocardiograms are:

  • Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE), in which a transducer is moved over different locations on the chest or abdomen.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE), in which the transducer is passed down the esophagus (the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach) to provide clearer pictures of the heart.
  • Stress echocardiogram, in which the echocardiogram is done before and after the heart is stressed by exercise or medicine.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer George Philippides, MD - Cardiology
Last Revised December 9, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 09, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.