An echocardiogram, often called "echo," is a graphic outline of the heart's movement. An echocardiogram is similar to ultrasound exams performed on pregnant women. During this test, high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) are sent through a device called transducer. The transducer receives electronic sound waves as they bounce of different parts of the heart and produce an image of the heart's chambers and valves. Echocardiograms can be used as part of a stress test or electrocardiogram to help your cardiologist find out more about your heart.
You do not need to abstain from eating or drinking if you are having an echocardiogram. If you are having an echocardiogram combined with an exercise test (stress echocardiogram), you will need to abstain from eating two hours prior to the test. Talk to your provider if you have any questions.
Electrodes will be placed on your chest in order to monitor basic electrical rhythm of the heart (ECG) and a transducer (an instrument that releases high-frequency waves) will be moved around the chest area. The transducer receives electronic sound waves reflected from the heart which are converted to a gray scale ultrasound images. The echocardiography machine takes the electrical impulses and convert to a moving picture of your heart. These pictures can be seen on a monitor and recorded, allowing your doctor to see how well your heart is working.
If you have any questions about this test, talk to your cardiologist.