An echocardiogram produces sound waves to show images of the heart. The test will show the heart beating and pumping blood and will allow a doctor to identify heart disease.


A doctor will suggest an echocardiogram to check for the size and function of the heart or to assess the function of the heart valves. Depending on the type of information needed, one of three different types of echocardiograms will be used:

  1. Transthoracic Echocardiogram is a standard test using an ultrasound to check for the heart function.This test is quick and painless and requires no prep on the part of the patient.
  2. Doppler Echocardiogram uses sound waves and pitches to detect blood flow issues.
  3. Stress Echocardiogram is done before and after exercise to check for blocked arteries that only can be identified during physical activity.



Preparations vary depending on the type of echocardiogram. For a transthoracic echocardiogram, no special preparations are needed. If you are scheduled for a stress procedure, your doctor may ask you to forgo food a few hours before the exam.

*Stock photographs and artwork are for illustrative purposes only. This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on this article as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other healthcare providers.