An echocardiogram is a graphic illustration of the heart muscle’s movement. It is created by focusing ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves) at the heart; when the ‘echo’ of these waves is captured it provides an image of the heart’s valves and chambers which can be used to determine whether they are functioning correctly.
Echocardiography is performed for the following reasons:
• Assess the functioning of the heart
• Identify the presence of heart diseases; such as myocardial and pericardial diseases as well as infective endocarditis, cardiac masses or other congenital heart diseases.
• Assess the progress of heart disease over time
• To evaluate the effectiveness of medical and surgical interventions
During the procedure a medial technician (called a sonographer) places a device called a sound-wave transducer on a person’s chest in proximity of the heart. The patient is also connected to an electrocardiograph (EKG) monitor to capture the heart’s electrical activity as part of the test.