This information will help you prepare for your resting echocardiogram.

An echocardiogram, or “echo,” is a test that tells your doctor about the structure and function of your heart. Ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves) is used to take pictures of your heart. The test lets your doctor know:

  • How well your heart valves are working
  • How well your heart muscle is moving
  • How your blood is flowing
  • The size of the 4 chambers of your heart

If your heart's structure or function is abnormal, you may be experiencing symptoms. These can be shortness of breath, chest pain, or both. However, these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions. An echo can help your doctor diagnose the cause of these symptoms.

During Your Procedure

On the day of your echo, wear a top that is easy to remove; you will need to take it off to put on a hospital gown. You can keep your pants or skirt on during the procedure.

You will lie on an exam table on your left side. Your technician will put a gel on your chest. The gel conducts the signals from your heart. Your technician will also place a device called a “transducer” in different positions on your chest. The transducer will record the sound waves of your heart. These will appear as pictures on an ultrasound screen.

You may have mild discomfort from the pressure of the transducer.

Your procedure will take about 30 minutes. Your doctor should have the results of your echo 4 days after the test.