What is an echocardiogram?
Also called an echo or diagnostic cardiac ultrasound, an echocardiogram is a common test that allows your cardiologist to evaluate how your heart beats and pumps blood.
It does not use radiation and is a noninvasive test, which means it doesn’t require your skin to be pierced. Instead, it uses ultrasound to take pictures of your heart’s chambers, walls, valves and blood vessels to assess your heart’s function and structures.
What happens during an echocardiogram?
Echo tests take about 40 to 60 minutes and typically don’t involve any discomfort or sedation.
During the procedure, a technician places a microphone-shaped probe, called a transducer, on top of your chest. The transducer sends ultrasonic sound waves through your heart’s structures, which bounce or “echo” back to the probe to create digital images of your heart valves and walls.
What heart conditions can an echocardiogram detect?
Cardiologists can use echocardiogram images to diagnose the following:
- Aortic aneurysm: A bulge in the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from your heart to your chest and torso;
- Blood clots within the chambers of your heart;
- Cardiac tumors or an infectious growth;
- Congenital heart disease: A defect of the heart’s chambers, valves or blood vessels that are present at birth;
- Cardiomyopathy: An abnormality in the heart muscle;
- Infective endocarditis: An infection in the heart lining;
- Regurgitation: When blood leaks backwards through your heart valves;
- Stenosis: When the heart valves are too narrow and don’t open and close properly;
- Valve disease: When one or more heart valves doesn’t open or close properly.
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Why Choose Hackensack Meridian Health for Heart Care
We have more top-ranked hospitals than any other system in New Jersey, including for the best Cardiology & Heart Surgery program and as High Performing in several areas of care, including Aortic Valve Surgery, Heart Attack and Heart Bypass Surgery, as noted by U.S. News & World Report.
Our award-winning team of experienced heart specialists uses the latest diagnostic equipment and minimally invasive surgical techniques to diagnose and treat common and complex heart conditions.
Comprehensive heart care
Our team-based approach pairs you with top heart experts. From prevention and diagnosis to surgery and rehabilitation, we provide comprehensive heart care in a compassionate, friendly environment close to home.
Our Top Heart Doctors in New Jersey
Our highly skilled team of heart specialists perform more than 3,000 procedures every year, including advanced, minimally invasive approaches. We provide exceptional cardiac treatment and personalized care to help you recover as quickly and safely as possible.