OHSU

Echocardiography

Procedure Overview

What is it?

A non-invasive test that uses sound waves to produce a study of the motion of the heart's chambers and valves, and the assessment of blood flow. The echo sound waves create an image on the monitor as an ultrasound transducer is passed over the heart. An audio signal of the blood flow is often part of the examination.

How is it done?

A light probe is placed on the chest wall of the subject, and images are taken through the chest wall. This is a non-invasive, highly accurate and quick assessment of the overall health of the heart. A cardiologist can quickly assess a patient's heart valves and degree of heart muscle contraction. The images are displayed in real-time on a video screen, and are recorded.

Who performs the exam?

A trained and licensed sonographer usually performs the procedure using the most modern ultrasound scanners. No radiation is involved and the procedure can be performed on patients of all ages. It takes usually 30-45 minutes to complete.