Moving Images of the Heart

Echocardiography is a painless test that uses sound waves to create moving images of the heart. A sonographer moves a wand-like device called a transducer around the patient's chest.

This records the size and shape of the heart and how well the chambers and valves are working. A cardiologist analyzes the recording to diagnose heart problems and help guide treatment.

How Does Echocardiography Help?

Your doctor may recommend echocardiography if you have signs and symptoms of possible heart problems (e.g., shortness of breath, swelling in the legs). If you've already had cardiac treatment, your doctor may use echocardiography to see how well your heart is responding.

Echocardiography can provide information on:

  • Areas of heart muscle that aren't contracting normally due to poor blood flow or injury from previous heart attack(s) or coronary artery disease
  • How well blood flows through the chambers and valves of your heart
  • Possible blood clots inside the heart, fluid buildup in the sac around the heart (pericardium), and problems with the aorta (the main artery that carries oxygen-rich blood out of the heart)
  • The size of your heart —An enlarged heart can be the result of high blood pressure, leaky heart valves or heart failure.
  • Abnormalities in the structure of your heart

Find a Doctor for Cardiovascular Care

For more information about the Cardiovascular Institute of Carolina, call 803-641-5551. To make an appointment with a cardiologist, please contact our Direct Doctors Plus® physician referral line at 800-322-8322.