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 medication.

Last Updated: December 23, 2009

Author: Robin Parks, MS

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.