Echocardiograms, also called "echos," are a safe and accurate way to identify disorders or abnormalities of the heart muscles and valves. The procedure, like ultrasound, uses sound waves that produce a picture of your heart to be evaluated by your physician.

Transthoracic Techocardiograms are the standard, non-invasive echocardiogram. Like a typical ultrasound, a gel is placed on your skin by the sonographer. A handheld device called a transducer is run across the skin as silent, high-pitched sound waves are expelled. These sound waves bounce back and are interpreted into an image by the computer. There are no complications associated with a standard echo and normal activities can be resumed directly after.

If for some reason a clear picture is not obtainable with a standard echo, a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE test) may be recommended by your doctor. For this procedure, a thin, flexible instrument called an endoscope is inserted down the patient’s esophagus. Your throat will be numbed. You may be given sedation medication for this exam so discuss with your doctor the possibility of needing someone to assist you afterwards. It is common for your throat to be sore for a few hours after a TEE test. Occasionally, your throat may be scratched and may remain sore for a few days.

A Doppler echocardiogram bounces sound waves off blood cells in the heart. These signals are then captured to determine the amount and direction of blood flow. Doppler is used in accordance with most echo and TEE tests to gather more information on your heart; blood flow patterns and abnormal pressure in your arteries may not otherwise be detected. A Doppler has no complications or special care afterwards.

  • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time
  • There is no additional prep for this exam