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Echocardiography uses sound waves to produce an image of the heart and to see how it is functioning. Depending on the type of echocardiography test they use, doctors can learn about the size, shape, and movement of your heart muscle. This test can also show how the heart valves are working and how blood is flowing through your heart. Echocardiography can also give doctors information about your arteries.

How it works?
Echocardiography uses high–frequency sound waves (also called Ultrasound) that can provide a moving picture of your heart. The sound waves are sent through the body with a wand–like device called a Transducer. The sound waves bounce off of the heart and return to the transducer as echoes. The echoes are converted into images on a television monitor to produce pictures of your heart. What to expect?
No special preparation is needed before you have an echocardiogram.
During the test, you will lie on an examination table. A technician will place small metal disks called electrodes on your chest. These electrodes have wires called leads, which hook up to an electrocardiogram machine. This machine will monitor your heart rhythm during the test.

Next, the technician will put a thick gel on your chest. The gel may feel cold, but it does not harm your skin. Then, the technician will use the transducer to send and receive the sound waves. The transducer will be placed directly on the left side of your chest, above your heart. The technician will press firmly as he or she moves the transducer across your chest. You may be asked to breathe in or out or to briefly hold your breath during the test. But, for most of the test, you will lie still.
An echocardiogram may take up to 45 minutes to perform. You should not have any pain or discomfort during the test.

Ultrasound or “Echo” patient study
Purpose of test Who performs the test
Commercial laboratory, hospital, doctor’s office, outpatient or free–standing surgical facility by lab technician, nurse and doctor.

Risks and precautions of Echocardiography
None.
The Test Equipment used Description of Echocardiography test
Follow technician’s instructions for positioning your body. Technician guides a transducer, which may feel cold on your skin, over the area examined. Transducer sends an ultrasound beam, composed of very high–frequency sound waves inaudible to the human ear. Conductive jelly is applied to your chest and a dime–size transducer, which looks like a microphone, is placed directly over it. Pressure is exerted to keep the transducer in contact with the skin. You may feel a slight discomfort from the pressure. The transducer is angled to observe different parts of the heart. You may be repositioned several times during the procedure. You may be asked to breathe in and out slowly, to hold your breath or to inhale a gas with a slightly sweet odor (amyl nitrate) while changes in heart functions are recorded. Although this gas may increase heart rate and produce flushing, dizziness and palpitations, effects soon subside. After passing through tissue, reflected sound waves are converted into electrical impulses and displayed on a video screen for interpretation or photographing for later interpretation. The conductive jelly is removed from your skin.
Test results
Test results are determined by images on video screen and photographs.
Indications