What Is an Echocardiogram?

Echocardiograms (also called echo tests or echocardiography) use sound waves to produce a picture of your heart’s shape and size, similar to ultrasound tests. Doctors can use these pictures to see if your heart’s valves and chambers (called atria) are working correctly. These tests—which are a type of ultrasound for your heart—are non-invasive and are performed by our team of highly skilled, nationally registered technologists.

Specialists at our Cardiovascular Center use echocardiography to find:

  • if your heart is weak or doesn’t beat correctly,
  • aorta problems,
  • valve disease,
  • blood clots inside your heart,
  • fluid in the sac that sits around your heart (called the pericardium), and
  • congenital heart defects (heart defects someone has had since they were born).

Echo tests can also help doctors find areas inside your heart muscle that may not be working as well as they should. Weak blood flow inside your heart and even previous heart attacks can cause your heart muscle to contract (shrink) badly.

A Doppler ultrasound, which is one type of echo test, can help doctors see how well blood is flowing in your heart’s valves and chambers.

Find a Cardiovascular Imaging Specialist

What to Expect During Your Echocardiogram

Echocardiograms are painless tests. It will probably take your doctor less than an hour to do the procedure.

Your doctor will ask you to remove your clothes from the waist up and put gel on your chest. This gel will help the transducer glide over your chest easily and make sure the sound waves can get to your heart. Your doctor will then slide a wand called a transducer across your chest and look at pictures of your heart on a computer screen.

Mobile Echocardiography

Phone: 801-581-2360

We also offer echocardiography within our mobile cardiology service. This allows our patients to benefit from the same high standard of cardiovascular imaging and noninvasive cardiology testing used at University of Utah Hospital without ever leaving their community.

Our mobile cardiology unit travels to locations throughout:

  • Utah,
  • Wyoming,
  • Idaho, and
  • Nevada.