Greenville and Washington County Echocardiograms

Heart Imaging & Diagnostics

An echocardiogram (ECHO) is an ultrasound of the heart. This imaging exam allows your doctor to see your heart pumping blood and assess your heart health. The ECHO creates images of the heart’s chambers and valves, as well as the blood arteries and veins attached to the heart. The exam is completely painless and noninvasive.

Your doctor may recommend you receive an ECHO for the following reasons:

  • To diagnose heart disease
  • To assess the heart’s pumping strength
  • To see if blood is leaking backward through the heart valves
  • To check for signs of valve stenosis (valves that don’t open properly
  • To check for tumors or infectious growths around the heart
  • To look for blood clots
  • To see if the heart is responsible for chest pain or difficulty breathing

What Happens During an Echocardiogram?

You don’t need to do anything special to prepare for an ECHO test. When you arrive for the exam, you will lie on a table as a technician places electrodes on your chest. These will be connected to an electrocardiogram that will monitor your heartbeat. A gel is then rubbed over the chest that will help soundwaves from the ECHO device pass through the chest. A wand that creates soundwaves is then passed over the chest. These sound waves bounce into the chest and are fed back into the wand, which transfers them to a computer. The computer converts the soundwaves into images, creating pictures on a nearby monitor that the doctor will observe.

When the ECHO is over, the electrodes and gel will be removed from your chest. This exam can be done on an outpatient basis, and you should be able to resume your normal activities when it’s over. There should be no side effects.